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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Description Life zones and habitat: Subalpine to alpine. 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, lanceolate to elliptic, 1/2 to 2 inches long, hairy on upper surfaces, 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.
References: Descr. adapted from Montana Field Guide, etal.
Colorado Status
Native
Scientific Name Mertensia ciliata USDA PLANTS Symbol
MECI3
Common Name Mountain Bluebells, Tall Chiming Bells ITIS Taxonomic Serial No.
31668
Family Boraginaceae (Forget-me-not) SEINet
Reference
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Description Life zones and habitat: Montane to alpine. Moist areas along stream banks, ponds.
Plant: Erect leafy perennial up to 4 feet tall often growing in large stands.
Leaves: Blue-green basal and stem leaves, alternate, lanceolate to elliptic, prominent veins; up to 6 inches long (basal leaves longer than stem leaves); smooth surfaces, with very small (hard to see) hairs along edges.
Inflorescence: Clusters of nodding blue, sometimes pink, rarely white, bell-shaped flowers.
References: Descr. adapted from "Guide to Colorado Wildflowers" by G.K. Guennel.
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: Montane to alpine. Moist areas along stream banks, ponds.
Plant: Erect leafy perennial up to 3 to 5 feet tall in colonies.
Leaves: Green basal and stem leaves, alternate, ovate to lanceolate to oblong, prominent veins; up to 6 inches long (basal leaves longer than stem leaves); smooth surfaces, with indistiguishable hairs without magnification.
Inflorescence: Clusters of nodding blue, sometimes pink, rarely white, bell-shaped flowers.
References: Various.
Notes: Looks almost identical to M. ciliata except for greener leaves.
Colorado Status
Native
Scientific Name Mertensia lanceolata USDA PLANTS Symbol
MELA3
Common Name Lanceleaf Bluebells, Narrowleaf 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. Woodlands, meadows, 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.
Inflorescence: Compact clusters of downward-pointing dark to pale blue, sometimes pinkish, bell-shaped flowers; often hairy calyces (sepals).
References: Descr. adapted from www.swcoloradowildflowers.com and www.americansouthwest.net.
Colorado Status
Native
© Tom Lebsack 2017