Arizona Bluebells



Arizona or Aspen Bluebells, Mertensia arizonica, growing in Engelmann Spruce Forest at Cedar Breaks National Monument, 10,400 Feet, July 12, 2007. A robustbluebell, both flowers and leaves large for Mertensia. Likes shaded, moist forest habitat at subalpine elevations at least in Cedar Breaks. Plant height 1 meter, large stems, Leaves alternate, no petiole, flowers nodding in racemes, scorpoid cyme not evident. Leaf length 75 mm, width 31 mm. Flowers 4-5 per inflorescence, flower width 9 mm, length 18 mm. Leaf bases mildlycordate. Arizonica inhabits a region centered on Utah with exctensions of the range into Arizona, Western Colorado, Wyoming and California.



Alpine Bluebells







Mertensia alpina, Alpine Bluebells (endemic to Pikes Peak ?), growing in alpine meadows and base of north facing talus slope, tundra on PikesPeak, Colorado, 11,500 Feet, July 30, 2007. Plant height is 14 cm, leaves basal and stem, basal length 38 mm, width 11 mm, petiole 30 mm, stem leaves alternate, length 28 mm, width 8 mm, no petiole. Flowers in raceme, about 15 per inflorescence, width 9 mm, length 9 mm. Location is above the gravel pit just uphill of Glen Cove.


Broad Leaf Bluebells

Broad Leaf Bluebells, Mertensia ciliata, growing in shaded meadow at Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, Gothic, Colorado, 9,400 Feet, July 13, 2007. Plant ht 61 cm. Leaves stem alternate, length 8 cm, width 33 mm. flowers in one sided raceme, width 7 mm, length 13 mm. Ciliata like shaded, moist places but are not generally an alpine tundra bluebell. Harrington, 1964 lists ciliata as likely to grow in spreading colonies, inflorescences arising from leaf axils, calyx lobes rather obtuse.


Franciscan Bluebells

Mertensia franciscana, Franciscan Bluebells, grow in Colorado and New Mexico. Broad Leaf Bluebells grow in Colorado and North into the Northwestern states. Harrington, 1964, lists Franciscana as having strgillose (slightly hairy) upper leaf surfaces, shorter leaf petioles, cayx lobes narrow, length about 3mm, ciliate, and divided almost to base. Weber, 2001, indicates pustullate based hairs on upper leaf surfaces for Franciscana. The above photos were taken along San Leonardo Creek in the Pecos Mountains of New Mexico at an elevation of 9,330 feet on June 27, 2003. They fit the criteria for franciscana with strgillate upper leaf surfaces, generally single stems, and acute rather long calyx lobes. Some similiar bluebells observed along the Continental Divide Trail north of Pagosa Springs, Colorado seem almost intermediate in characteristics between ciliata and franciscana.


Green Bluebells

Mertensia lanceolata, Green Bluebells, growing in Garden of the Gods, Colorado,6,500 feet, May 30, 2007. This is the "dry land" Mertensia, growing in sunny, open, much drier habitats than the other Mertensias. Plant height 28 cm,leaves stem alternate,lanceolate, length 50 mm, width 9 mm. Inflorescences from leaf axils, flowers 12 mm long and 5 mm wide.
Mertensia lanceolata variety nivalis

Mertensia lanceolata variety nivalis (snow), in an alpine meadow on Mount Princeton, Colorado, 12,050 feet, June 11, 2003. In contrast to regular old plain lanceolata, variety nivalis is low growing, almost a cushion plant and occurs in alpine settings at or above timberline.