Rough-pubescent. Stems: erect, branched above, the branches slender. Leaves: thin, pinnately veined, those of the stem ovate-lanceolate, acuminate; basal leaves ovate, rounded. Flowers: several-flowered in loose terminal panicles calyx-lobes acute; corolla funnel-form, crested in the throat.
The Tall Lungwort grows from one to three feet high, and is one of the handsomest members of a family of coarse and hairy plants. It has very showy blue flowers, their tubes crested in the throat and the lobes only slightly spreading. These grow in loose terminal clusters.
Probably it is because there are so few really blue mountain wild flowers that we specially prize this striking plant. On every hand we see various shades of purple, mauve, violet, and heliotrope, - but very rarely of blue. .
"Blue! Tis the life of heaven, the domain Of Cynthia, the wide palace of the sun, The tent of Hesperus, and all his train, The bosomer of clouds, gold, gray, and Blue! 'Tis the life of waters, ocean And all its basal streams. Blue! Gentle cousin of the forest green, Married to green in all the sweetest flowers."
Mertensia oblongifolia, or Blue Lungwort, is not so tall as the preceding species, growing only from four to eight inches high, the stems usually solitary from the short, thick, corn-like root. The leaves are oblong, and rounded at the apex, the lower ones being smaller than these at the middle of the stem. The very bright clear blue flowers are numerous in a close terminal cluster, the narrow lobes of the four-parted calyx are minutely hairy, and the funnel form corolla has an abruptly dilated throat with pubescent crests at its base on a line with the stamens. The nutlets are dull and with obtuse angles, they are wrinkled at maturity. This plant grows in moist places.