Mertensia species

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Scientific Name Mertensia alpina USDA PLANTS Symbol MEAL7
Common Name Alpine Bluebells ITIS Taxonomic Serial No. 31665
Family Boraginaceae (Forget-me-not) SEINet
Reference
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Life zones and habitat: Subalpine to alpine (11000 to 14000 ft). Meadows, tundra, rocky open areas.
Plant: Leafy perennial 2 to 8 inches tall, may be branched from base, stems prostrate or upright.
Leaves: Basal and stem leaves, linear-lanceolate to oblong, 1/2 to 2-3/4 inches long, short hairs on upper surfaces, smooth beneath, lateral veins obscure.
Inflorescence: Clusters of small bell-shaped blossoms about 1/3-inch long atop stems, often pointing upward; corolla tubes with yellowish centers and 5 deep blue lobes; 5 pointed sepals united at base; anthers do not extend beyond tubes.
Bloom Period: June to August.
References: "Flora of Colorado" by Jennifer Ackerfield and Montana Field Guide, etal.
BONAP Distribution Map
Colorado Status:
Native
Scientific Name Mertensia brevistyla USDA PLANTS Symbol MEBR
Common Name Short-style Bluebells ITIS Taxonomic Serial No. 31676
Family Boraginaceae (Forget-me-not) SW Colorado Wildflowers Ref. Click Here
Description Life zones and habitat: Foothills to montane (6300 to 10000 ft). Dryer soils in meadows, lightly-wooded and open areas.
Plant: Erect leafy perennial with single or multiple pubescent stems, 2 to 16 inches tall.
Leaves: Blue-green stem leaves, alternate, narrowly oblong, elliptic or spatulate, glabrous (hairless) underneath and strigose (rigidly appressed hairs) on the upper surface usually pointing away from the mid-vein of the leaf; usually without evident lateral veins; blades 3/4 to 3-1/2 inches long.
Inflorescence: Usually upright clusters of blue bell-shaped flowers; calyx less than 3/16-inch long, backs pubescent; filaments attached in the corolla tube and the anthers not projecting beyond the throat.
Bloom Period: April to June.
References: "Flora of Colorado" by Jennifer Ackerfield, US Forest Service and SW Colorado Wildflowers.
BONAP Distribution Map
Colorado Status:
Native
Scientific Name Mertensia ciliata USDA PLANTS Symbol MECI3
Common Name Mountain Bluebells, Tall Fringed Bluebells ITIS Taxonomic Serial No. 31668
Family Boraginaceae (Forget-me-not) SEINet
Reference
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Description Life zones and habitat: Foothills to alpine (6000 to 12500 ft). Moist areas along stream banks, ponds.
Plant: Erect leafy perennial with multiple stems 8 to 36 inches tall often growing in large stands.
Leaves: Blue-green basal and stem leaves, alternate, ovate to laneolate-ovate; up to 6 inches long (basal leaves longer than stem leaves); prominent lateral veins, smooth surfaces, with very small cilia (hairs) along edges.
Inflorescence: Clusters of nodding blue, sometimes pink, rarely white, bell-shaped flowers; calyx less than 1/8-inch long, divided to the base, lobes rounded at the tip with cilia (hairs) along edges; corolla 3/8 to 5/8-inch long.
Bloom Period: June to August.
References: "Guide to Colorado Wildflowers" by G.K. Guennel, "Flora of Colorado" by Jennifer Ackerfield and Montana Field Guide.
BONAP Distribution Map
Colorado Status:
Native
Scientific Name Mertensia franciscana USDA PLANTS Symbol MEFR2
Common Name Franciscan Bluebells ITIS Taxonomic Serial No. 31679
Family Boraginaceae (Forget-me-not) SEINet
Reference
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Description Life zones and habitat: Foothills to subalpine (6500 to 10800). Along stream banks, ponds and damp to moist meadows.
Plant: Erect leafy perennial 16 to 40 inches tall, multiple stems, often growing in colonies.
Leaves: Green basal and stem leaves, alternate, ovate to elliptic or lanceolate-ovate, prominent veins; 2 to 4 inches long (basal leaves longer than stem leaves); apparently smooth surfaces--indistinguishabe w/o magnification hairs on upper surface and (sometimes) pustules on lower.
Inflorescence: Clusters of nodding blue, sometimes pink, rarely white, bell-shaped flowers on strigose (short-hairy) pedicels; calyx ~1/6-inch long, divided almost to base with linear-lanceolate lobes ~1/16-inch wide at base and very hairy margins; corolla tube 1/3-inch long or shorter.
Bloom Period: June to August.
References: "Flora of Colorado" by Jennifer Ackerfield and SEINet.
BONAP Distribution Map
Colorado Status:
Native
Scientific Name Mertensia lanceolata USDA PLANTS Symbol MELA3
Common Name Prairie Bluebells ITIS Taxonomic Serial No. 31681
Family Boraginaceae (Forget-me-not) SEINet
Reference
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Description Life zones and habitat: Foothills to alpine (8500 to 14000 ft). Open, dryer areas in meadows and woodland openings.
Plant: Erect leafy perennial 8 to 14 inches tall, growing singley or in clusters. A variable and complex species.
Leaves: Green basal and stem leaves, alternate, broadly-lanceolate, leaf surfaces vary from smooth to hairy (strigose-short, flattened hairs); prominent center vein but no lateral veins.
Inflorescence: Compact clusters of downward-pointing dark to pale blue, sometimes pinkish, bell-shaped flowers; calyx hairy, ciliate, 1/8 to 1/4-inch long, divided 2/3-way to the base; corolla 1/3 to 1/2-inch long.
Bloom Period: May to August.
References: "Flora of Colorado" by Jennifer Ackerfield, www.swcoloradowildflowers.com and www.americansouthwest.net and Montana Field Guide.
Note: The images below are likely var. nivalis according to the description in "Flora of Colorado" that indicates this variant is found from 8500 to 14000 ft.
BONAP Distribution Map
Colorado Status:
Native
© Tom Lebsack 2020