Polemonium pulcherrimum

Polemonium pulcherrimum is commonly known as Showy Jacob’s Ladder that leads a perennial life. Several stems that can vary from erect to sprawling are borne from a taproot reaching 5 to 35 cm in length and are branched and thickened at the base. The leaves are mostly basal and pinnately compound or ladder-like in appearance. Each leaf has 11 to 25 leaflets arranged alternately along a central midvein and egg-shaped to circular in shape. Blue (sometimes white) flowers are arranged in crowded clusters. Each individual flower is bell-shaped, 7 to 13 mm long and wide and has a yellow center. The petals are rounded at the tips. The fruit of P. pulcherrimum is a capsule that produced seeds that have a mucilaginous coating when wet.

P. pulcherrimum is found in fairly dry, rocky, sandy, open sites and open forest from low to high elevations, at progressively higher elevations moving south.

The above picture was taken in July in the Mount Washington wilderness area in Oregon.

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References

Pojar, J. and A. McKinnon (1994) Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Lone Pine Publishing, Washington, Canada.

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