Sabatia kennedyana

Common Name: Plymouth rose gentian 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Gentianaceae
Native Range: Eastern North America
Zone: 6 to 9
Height: 2.50 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 2.50 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to August
Bloom Description: Pink and white with yellow and red center eye
Sun: Full sun
Water: Wet
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Water Plant, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Wet Soil


Best grown in wet, boggy soils in full sun. This is a wetland species that will tolerate occasional inundation but will not tolerate dry soils. Does not compete well against other plants. Hardy in Zones 6-9.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Sabatia kennedyana, commonly called Plymouth rose gentian, is a herbaceous perennial native to disjunct regions of the Atlantic coasts of Canada and the United States including parts of Nova Scotia, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, North Carolina and South Carolina. They are found growing in seasonally wet, open, sandy or peaty bogs along the margins of freshwater ponds. Mature specimens can reach up to 3' tall and can form robust colonies by underground rhizomes, reaching around 3' wide in ideal conditions. The lanceolate foliage can reach up to 5" long and is oppositely arranged along the flowering stalk as well as forming a basal rosette. A flowering stalk up to 3' tall emerge from the center of the rosettes in mid to late summer, and are topped with a branched spray of 2" diameter blooms. The flowers are made up of 9-11 pale to bright pink petals with white bases and a yellow center eye thinly edged in red.

Genus name honors Liberato Sabbati (1714-1778), Italian botanist and gardener.

The specific epithet kennedyana honors Dr. George Golding Kennedy (1841-1918), an American physician and botanist who collected extensively in New England.

The common name Plymouth rose gentian refers to part of this species native range in coastal Massachusetts. Rose gentian is a common name given to members of the genus Sabatia, in reference to the color of their flowers and their status as part of the gentian family (Gentianaceae).


Wild populations are threatened by shoreline development, wetland degradation, and poaching. Only purchase nursery propagated plants from reputable growers.


Suitable for use in bog gardens, pond margins, or other open, wet areas.