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Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

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Polemonium occidentale (Western polemonium)
Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia

Polemonium occidentale

Polemonium occidentale Greene

Western Polemonium, Western Jacob's Ladder

Polemoniaceae (Phlox Family)


USDA Symbol: POOC2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

Western Jacobís-ladder is a 1 1/2-3 ft. perennial with basal clusters of dark-green, pinnately compound leaves. Its blue, bell-shaped flowers are crowded in an elongate, openly branched cluster.

The leaves resemble long ladders; the genus is known by the common name Jacob's Ladder. Leafy Polemonium (P. foliosissimum), which grows from Idaho and Wyoming south to Arizona and New Mexico, is somewhat leafier than Western Polemonium, the upper leaves not much smaller than those at the base.


From the Image Gallery

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 3 feet tall.
Leaf: Dark Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Blue , Purple
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug
Bloom Notes: Blue to purple with a white throat.


USA: CA , CO , ID , MN , MT , NV , OR , UT , WA , WI , WY
Native Distribution: B.C. & Alt., s. to CA & CO; mostly e. of the Cascades
Native Habitat: Wet, open conifer forests or meadow edges; 3000-11,000 ft.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Wet
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Wet to moist, well-drained soils.


Conspicuous Flowers: yes


Description: Propagate by division or seed.
Seed Treatment: Stratify.
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.

Web Reference

Webref 37 - Calscape (2019) California Native Plant Society
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2023-02-23
Research By: TWC Staff

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