Opening/ Closure Status

All outdoor gardens are currently open. The Conservatory and public restrooms remain closed, due to the closure of the U.S. Capitol campus buildings. Please monitor for updates on operating status. USBG resources can be accessed online, including educational materials, virtual tours, and online programs by visiting

Soapwort gentian or harvest bells

Plant Botanical Name: 
Gentiana saponaria
Plant Threat Level: 

Soapwort gentians are native along the east coast from Florida to Massachusetts, west to the Great Lakes and south to Texas. Although widely dispersed, they are now extinct in Michigan and endangered in Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania. Development, fire suppression and use of herbicides continue to endanger gentians. Gentiana saponaria are most often found in moist acidic woodland slopes, roadside ditches and moist meadows. The beautiful blue flower heralds the end of the flowering season (and harvest season), just before its leaves turn red and gold.