The purple gentian has a simple, very strong stem axis and gets 20-60 cm high. 1 to 3 purple flowers sit at the top and in the upper leaf axles. This species is known mainly from the western Alps, the Apennines and Norway, It prefers soils deficient in lime between 1.200-2.800 meters a.s.l. The bell-shaped flowers are purple, yellowish with dark spots inside. They have a fine perfume of roses and are pollinated by bumblebees. The tiny seeds weigh only 0.00048 g. The bloom period is July to September. The root is considered the best for the production of gentian schnapps.