Frasera caroliniensis - American Colombo
Frasera caroliniensis Walter - American columbo is a member of the Gentian family (Gentianaceae) found infrequently (Jones,2005) in central and eastern Kentucky. The pictures here were taken May 22, 2017 by the side of the road in Lyon County, Kentucky. This group of plants is striking because of the purple (has been described as occuring as a green stem in other areas) stem that arises to the panicle of blooms. The Lyon County plant blooms a pale blue-purple that as the anthers (pollen) dry loses the color and turn to white. John Swintoski, Landscape Architect at Louisville Metro Parks, and all around plant geek wrote “How often do you get to see cool swollen fringed nectar glands like THAT...! and Big and bold in bloom…” It is that! Illinois wildflowers says “This herbaceous plant is a monocarpic perennial. It persists as a rosette of 3-30 basal leaves for 5-15 years (or more), finally bolting as a flowering plant that becomes 3-8' tall for a single season, and then dying.” (Illinois, accessed May 24, 20176). The late Tom Barnes (his picture is the only one on the USDA - Natural Reosurce Conservation Service page) and S. Wilson Frances (Barnes and Wilson, 2004) and Wilbur and Marion Duncan (Duncan and Duncan, 1999) say it is a triennial so maybe we will get to see it bloom again. Bumble bees were observed dipping their faces into the nectar pads while dragging their pollen laden legs across the stigma on the single style to pollenate. The plants by the side of the road are growing in riprap that had become filled with blown-in soil. Extracting complete root systems was impossible but the Prairie Moon Nursery image of roots is very representative. Propagation information is very limited but Prairie Moon Nursery says to plant outside in the fall in full sun to partial shade.
for books see http://www2.ca.uky.edu/HLA/Dunwell/oehbooks.html
Illinois Wildflowers - American Columbo - Frasera caroliniensis
The plant description and pictures are excellent; exactly what one observes.
USDA - Natural Resources Conservation Service Frasera caroliniensis Walter - American columbo
Prairie Moon Nursery Plant/Seed description