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Mertensia ciliata (Mountain bluebells) | NPIN

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Mertensia ciliata (Mountain bluebells)
Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia

Mertensia ciliata

Mountain bluebells, Tall fringe bluebells, Tall fringed bluebells

Boraginaceae (Borage Family)

USDA Symbol: MECI3

USDA Native Status:

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 Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf: Green
Size Class: 1-3 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Blue
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug


USA: AZ , CA , CO , ID , MT , NM , NV , OR , SD , UT , WY
Native Distribution: CO & extreme n. NM to CA Sierras, n. to w. MT & s.e. WA
Native Habitat: Stream banks; wet meadows; damp thickets

Growing Conditions

Water 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.


Conspicuous Flowers: yes


Description: 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

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

Recommended Species Lists

Find native plant species by state. Each list contains commercially available species suitable for gardens and planned landscapes. Once you have selected a collection, you can browse the collection or search within it using the combination search.

View Recommended Species page

Additional resources

USDA: Find Mertensia ciliata in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Mertensia ciliata in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Mertensia ciliata


Record Modified: 2007-01-01
Research By: TWC Staff

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