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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: Native to U.S.
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
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 USDA Native Status: L48(N)
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
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
Recommended Species Lists
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Record Modified: 2007-01-01
Research By: TWC Staff