Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Western Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Mertensia ciliata (E. James ex Torr.) G. Don
- Family: Borage (Boraginaceae)
- Flowering: June-August
- Field Marks: Bluebells are distinguished by their usually bluish, tubular flowers and toothless, alternate leaves. Mertensia ciliata differs from the others by usually being at least 2 feet tall, by having leaves smooth on both surfaces,
- Habitat: Wet meadows, along streams, particularly in the mountains.
- Habit: Perennial herb from a thickened rootstock.
- Stems: Upright, up to 4 1/2 feet tall, smooth, sometimes bluish.
- Leaves: Alternate, simple, elliptic to ovate to lanceolate, up to 6 inches long, up to 2 inches wide, more or less pointed at the tip, tapering or less commonly rounded at the base, smooth, the basal leaves larger and on long stalks, the upper l
- Flowers: Several clustered in small cymes, each cyme subtended by a small bract.
- Sepals: 5, green, united only at the base, up to 1/6 inch long, smooth except for short cilia along the edges.
- Petals: 5, blue, united to form a tube, up to 3/4 inch long.
- Stamens: 5, attached to the tube of the petals.
- Pistils: Ovary superior, 4-parted.
- Fruits: Nutlets 4, somewhat veiny.
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