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Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia
Mertensia ciliata (James ex Torr.) G. Don
Mountain bluebells, Tall fringe bluebells, Tall fringed bluebells
USDA Symbol: MECI3
USDA Native Status: L48 (N)
Several 1-3 ft. stems emerge in a clump from the woody root of tall fringe bluebells or mountain bluebells. Smooth, succulent leaves are crowded along these stems. A plant with clumps of leafy stems and loose clusters of narrowly bell-shaped, blue flowers turning pink with age. Pendent clusters of clear blue, tubular flowers exude a mild fragrance. Root crowns and rhizomes spread over time, forming extensive patches.
Mertensias are also called Lungworts, after a European species with spotted leaves which was believed to be a remedy for lung disease. Similar species differ in the proportions of the corolla.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Leaf:
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Blue
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug
, WY Native Distribution: CO
& extreme n. NM
Sierras, n. to w. MT
& s.e. WA Native Habitat:
Stream banks; wet meadows; damp thickets
Growing ConditionsWater Use: High
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Wet
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Moist to wet loams & sandy loams.
Conditions Comments: Good air circulation is necessary to prevent mildew diseases.
BenefitConspicuous Flowers: yes
PropagationDescription: Divide rhizomes in the spring. It is also possible to propagate this plant from seed.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Seed scarification enhances germination. Rub between sheets of medium-grit sandpaper.
Commercially Avail: yes
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Native Seed Network
- Corvallis, OR
Record Last Modified: 2007-01-01
Research By: TWC Staff