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Polemonium caeruleum

Polemonium caeruleum L.

Polemonium caeruleum L. var. album hort.

Jacob’s Ladder, Greek valerian, Blue Bells, American Greek Valerian

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassAsteridaeA large class that encompasses asters
OrderEricalesTea, persimmon, blueberry, Brazil nut, azalea, many others
FamilyPolemoniaceaePhlox, Jabob’s-ladder
GenusPolemoniumGreek herbalist and healer Polemon of Cappadocia may be the source of this name
Speciescaeruleum“Sky blue”: the word “cerulean” derives from this

About plant names...

Jacob’s ladder is native to northern and central Europe and northern Asia. It is now naturalized in North America. The name “Jacob’s ladder” refers to the ladder-like spacing of its odd pinnate leaves.

Identification: Plants are up to 20" (50 cm) high. The stem is branched. Leaves are odd pinnate—composed of groups of opposite leaves as well as a leaf on the end of the cluster. The clusters contain 7-11 leaflets. Leaflets are roughly oval-shaped, with smooth edges, about 1½" (3.8 cm) long and ½" (1.3 cm) wide. Large showy clusters of blue flowers appear on top. Flowers are blue, about 1" (2.5 cm) in diameter, with five rounded petals.

Online References:

Polemonium caeruleum on Wikipedia

Polemonium caeruleum on Henriette’s Herbal Homepage

Polemonium caeruleum in Paghat's Garden

Polemonium caeruleum at Gymnosperms.org

Polemonium caeruleum on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants

Polemonium caeruleum on Wikimedia Commons

Polemonium caeruleum at the Missouri Botanical Garden

Polemonium caeruleum (Jacob’s Ladder, Greek valerian, Blue Bells, American Greek Valerian)

From Lindman, Carl Axel Magnus, Bilder ur Nordens Flora, 1926. Scan from Projekt Runeberg.

Polemonium caeruleum description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 16 Aug 2013.

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Polemonium caeruleum (Jacob’s Ladder, Greek valerian, Blue Bells, American Greek Valerian)

5/15/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA
≈ 7 × 9" (18 × 21 cm) ID is uncertain

Polemonium caeruleum (Jacob’s Ladder, Greek valerian, Blue Bells, American Greek Valerian)

5/15/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA
≈ 10 × 10" (24 × 25 cm) ID is uncertain

Polemonium caeruleum (Jacob’s Ladder, Greek valerian, Blue Bells, American Greek Valerian)

5/15/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA
≈ 9 × 9" (22 × 23 cm) ID is uncertain

Range: Zones 4-8:

About this map...