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Tall Bluebells Mertensia paniculata


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Tall Bluebells
credit: Walter Siegmund/CCSA

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Family: Boraginaceae, Borage view all from this family

Description Habit: native perennial subshrub or herb; several leafy stems; rhizomatous.
Height: 8-60 in (20-150 cm)
Leaf: prominently veined; at base when present, heart-shaped, long-stalked, 2-8 in (50-200 mm) long, 1-4 in (25-100 mm) wide; on stem, alternate, lanceolate to heart-shaped, short-stalked, pointed, 1-7 in (25-180 mm) long, 0.4-3 in (10-75 mm) long.
Flower: tiny drooping tube or bell, pale pink to lavender to pale blue, 5-lobed, 0.3-0.6 in (9-16 mm) tall.
Fruit: 0-4 nutlets.

Flower May to September.

Habitat Moist sites: stream banks, river banks, wet meadows, rocky slopes, boreal forests, coniferous swamps and woods, damp thickets, wet cliffs, open forests.

Range Native to northern North America, from Alaska east to Quebec; in the Northwest (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana), Midwest (Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan), and Connecticut.

Discussion Also known as northern bluebell, tall lungwort, tall mertensia, panicled bluebells, lungwort. Four varieties are recognized. Endangered in Iowa.