Stems erect or nearly erect, simple or somewhat branched, 1 to 2 feet tall from a perennial root; smooth and rather stout. Leaves oblong, the upper ones sessile, blunt at the apex, 2 to 5 inches long, the lower leaves tapering into margined petioles, obovate in shape. Flowers blue-purple, or blue turning purple with age, showy, about 1 inch long, in short racemes forming a terminal corymbose inflorescence; calyx lobes five, oblong-lanceolate, blunt; corolla trumpet-shaped with a slender tube and a five-lobed, plaited limb, pubescent at the base within but not crested in the throat; stamens five, attached to the inside of the corolla tube.

In low meadows and along streams, central New York and southern Ontario to New Jersey, South Carolina, Minnesota and Kansas. Flowering in April and May.

Memoir 15 N. Y. State Museum

Plate 181

Virginia Cowslip; Bluebells   Mertensia virginica

Virginia Cowslip; Bluebells - Mertensia virginica

Photographed by J. Horace McFarland