Gentiana lutea, or great yellow gentian, is a large perennial herb native to the calcareous alpine meadows, moist grasslands, and open pastures of the central and southern European mountain ranges. These plants can reach 3' tall when in flower, and are typically solitary but can also grow in small clumps (1.5-2' across). Large, upright, basal leaves are lance-shaped to elliptic with deep, ribbed veins. The flowering stalk emerges in mid to late summer, with whorled clusters of yellow flowers on the axils of the upper, clasping leaves. The large taproot of this species (up to 3' long) has been used historically for medicinal purposes and as a bittering agent.