Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Mertensia paniculata
northern bluebell, tall bluebell

Distribution: Widely distributed on both sides of the Cascades crest in Washington; Alaska to Oregon, east to Montana, also in the Great Lakes region and eastern Canada.

Habitat: Streambanks and wet meadows at mid-elevations in the mountains

Flowers: May-August

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern

Pollination: Bumblebees, bees


Perennial from a stout rhizome and branched base, the numerous stems 2-15 dm. tall, glabrous or hairy.


Leaves thin, prominently veined, the basal ones, if present, long-petiolate and cordate; cauline leaves numerous, short-petiolate, the blade lanceolate to broadly ovate, pointed, 3-14 cm. long and 1.5-7 cm. wide, rounded at the base, gradually reduced upward.


Inflorescence branched and open; calyx 2-6 mm. long, cleft over half way to the base; corolla blue, 5-lobed, 9-16 mm. long, the limb 1.2 to 1.6 times as long as the tube; tube often with a ring of hairs below the middle within; filaments broad, shorter than the anthers; style longer than the corolla lobes; nutlets attached to the lower half of the style; hairy appendages opposite the corolla lobes at the top of the tube.


4 nutlets.

Accepted Name:
Mertensia paniculata (Aiton) G. Don
Publication: Gen. Hist. iv. 318. 1837.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
(none provided)
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Mertensia paniculata in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database

WA Flora Checklist: Mertensia paniculata checklist entry

OregonFlora: Mertensia paniculata information

E-Flora BC: Mertensia paniculata atlas page

CalPhotos: Mertensia paniculata photos

56 photographs:
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