This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol3", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Perennial or rarely annual herbs, with alternate pinnate membranous leaves, and mostly large cymose-paniculate or thyrsoid flowers. Calyx herbaceous, not angled nor ribbed, cam-panulate, 5-cleft to about the middle, accrescent in fruit, the segments lanceolate or ovate, entire, erect or connivent over the capsule. Corolla tubular-campanulate or funnel form, rarely rotate, blue, white or yellow, the limb 5-lobed. Stamens about equally inserted near the base of the corolla, declined, the filaments slender, often pilose at the base. Ovary ovoid; ovules few or several in each cavity. Capsule ovoid, obtuse, 3-valved. Seeds wingless, or narrowly winged, mucilaginous and emitting spiral threads when wetted. [Name not explained.]
About 15 species, natives of the cooler parts of the north temperate zone. Besides the following, some 10 others occur in the western parts of North America. Type species: Polemonium coeruleum L.
Anthers exserted; flowers 8"-10" broad; stem erect.
1. P. Van Bruntiae.
Anthers included; flowers 5"-6" broad; stem reclining.
2. P. reptans.
Polemonium coeruleum A. Gray, Man. Ed. 4, App. 1863.
224. pl. 131. 1892.
Rootstock stout, horizontal, clothed with fibrous roots. Stems erect, glabrous below, somewhat glandular-pubescent above, 1 1/2° - 2 1/2° high, leafy to the top; leaflets of the lower leaves short-stalked or sessile, ovate or lanceolate, acute, 1/2' - 1 1/2' long, those of the upper fewer, the uppermost leaves 3-5-foliolate or simple; cymose clusters panicled or solitary, rather loosely 3-5-flowered; pedicels 2" -4" long; flowers bluish-purple, 8"-10" broad; corolla-lobes rounded; calyx 5-lobed to about the middle, much enlarged in fruit, the lobes acute; stamens exserted; ovules 3 or 4 in each cavity; capsule several-seeded.
In swamps and along streams, Vermont and northern New York to Maryland. Differs from the Old World P. coeruleum L. in its stout rootstocks, more leafy stem, exserted stamens, and rounded corolla-lobes. May-July.
Polemonium reptans L. Syst. Ed. 10, no. 1. 1759.
Glabrous or very nearly so throughout, usually not more than 1° high; stems weak, slender, at length reclining or diffuse, the rootstock short. Leaflets oblong, ovate-oblong, or lanceolate-oblong, 1/2' - 1 1/2' long, the uppermost leaves 3-5-foliolate or simple; flowers blue, 5"- 8" broad; calyx 5-lobed, its lobes obtuse or acute; stamens not exserted; ovules 3 or 4 in each cavity; seeds about 3 in each capsule.