Bluebells, the children called them, and gathered handsful of the thin green stems with their racemes of pale blue bellflowers. Where the Virginia bluebell did not grow, the cabin children of Illinois knew the flowers of Greek valerian as bluebells, and took bouquets to their mothers and teachers.
Polemonium reptans L.
April - May Woods, roadsides.
Greek valerian grows in a bushy, low plant in which many stems spring up from a perennial rootstock. Each stem is hung with the round-petaled. little sky-colored bells with their curled white stamens. They last a long time in bloom, for they begin in late April and there still are a few pale flowers when shade has come to the woodlands and late May approaches dune.
The leaves of Greek valerian are compound, with narrow, oval leaflets of shiny dark green arranged much like tern leaves from the base of the plant and along the flower stems.
Greek valerian i- a member of the Phlox family, but has little of the family resemblance. It is at its best in the rocky, billy woods, there where the leaf-mold is deep and cool, where moss beds are green and. in the pleasant dewy dampness of dawn the snails move on slimy trails across the leaves and moss. Lady beetles which bad gathered in a crowd of dozens beneath leaves near the valerian are out hunting early aphids, and crawl up the valerian stems in search of food. They are all part of that picture of a particular woodland the blue valerian bells, the inseets, the snails, the pearl- of moisture on the leaves, the crisp moss, the song of a veery in the haw bushes.