Virginia bluebells

(Mertensia virginica)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

Virginia bluebells

NatureServe

N5? - Secure

SNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Wetland
Indicator
Status

Midwest

FACW - Facultative wetland

Northcentral & Northeast

FAC - Facultative

Nativity

Native

Occurrence

 

Habitat

Moist to wet. Woods, river bottoms.

Flowering

May to June

     
Flower Color

Blue

     
Height

12 to 26

     
 
Identification

This is a 12 to 26 tall, erect to ascending, perennial forb that rises on usually multiple stems from a caudex. It often forms colonies.

The stems are fragile, fleshy, leafy, hairless, and branching near the top.

The leaves are alternate, elliptic to egg-shaped with the attachment at the wide end or inversely egg-shaped with the attachment at the narrow end, 2 to 6 long, and up to 4 wide. They are hairless and have a soft, floppy texture. Lower leaves taper at the base to a winged leaf stalk up to 6 long. Upper leaves are on a shorter stalk and have rounded tips. The uppermost leaves are greatly reduced in size and are attached to the stem without a leaf stalk. The margins are untoothed.

The inflorescence is is a small, branched cluster at the end of the stems. The cluster is on a hairless stalk.

The flowers are trumpet-shaped, ¾ to 1 long. There are 5 petals that are purplish pink when in bud, gradually turning light blue as they unfold. They are fused at the base into a tube that flares outward at the tip with 5 shallow lobes. The tube is longer than the expanded portion of the corolla (limb). The individual flowers are never subtended with leafy bracts.

The fruit is 4 wrinkled nutlets.

 
Similar
Species

Tall bluebells (Mertensia paniculata var. paniculata) is a taller, hairy, never colonial plant with smaller flowers. It reaches up to 40 in height. The stems may be hairy. The leaves are hairy on both surfaces. Stem leaves have pointed tips. The flowers are to ½ long. The corolla tube is 1.2 to 1.6 times as long as the tube.

 
Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28.
 
Comments

 

 
Taxonomy

Family:

Boraginaceae (borage)

 

Subfamily:

Boraginoideae

 
Synonyms

Mertensia pulmonarioides

 
Common
Names

bluebells

eastern bluebells

Roanoke-bells

Virginia bluebells

Virginia cowslip

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Bract

Modified leaf at the base of a flower stalk or flower cluster.

 

Caudex

A short, thickened, woody, persistent enlargement of the stem, at or below ground level, used for water storage.

 

Corolla

A collective name for all of the petals of a flower.

 

Limb

In flowers, the expanded portion of a petal, or the expanded part of a corolla, above the throat.

 

Winged leaf stalk

A leaf stalk with a leaf-like or membrane-like extension along both sides.

       
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Plant

  Virginia bluebells   Virginia bluebells
       

Inflorescence

  Virginia bluebells   Virginia bluebells
       
       

 

Camera

     
Slideshows
   
  Virginia Bluebell
J.Steinbock
 
  Virginia Bluebell  
     
  Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica)
Bill Keim
 
  Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica)  
     
  Mertensia virginica (Virginia Bluebells)
Allen Chartier
 
  Mertensia virginica (Virginia Bluebells)  

 

slideshow

       
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Other Videos
 
  Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica)
PrairieMoonNursery
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Jun 4, 2010

http://www.prairiemoon.com - Early May at Prairie Moon Nursery brings the beautiful Virginia Bluebells found in a wooded edge location.

   
       
  Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica)
wvoutdoorman
 
   
 
About

Published on Apr 4, 2012

Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica)

   
       
  Bluebells,Virginia. Mertensia virginica
evansmedia1
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Apr 13, 2011

McCprmick's Creek State Park has an abundance of Virginia Bluebells. filmed near what is called the old state house quarry, ( no bluebells were harmed in the making of this film ) Late afternoon April 13 2011 .

McCormick's Creek State Park is located just east of Spencer, Indiana.

   
       

 

Camcorder

         
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