Thursday, May 29, 2008

Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica)

Virginia Bluebell

Virginia Bluebell
Central Park, New York City.

Flower Season & Date: Early Spring April 26, Flower Latin Name: Mertensia virginica, Flower Common Name: Virginia Bluebells.

Virginia Bluebell From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Virginia Bluebell, Mertensia virginica, has many different common names, including "Virginia Cowslip", "Lungwort Oysterleaf", and "Roanoke Bells"
It is a species of plant belonging to the family Boraginaceae. This bluebell ranges in height from 12~24 inches. The most distinguishing feature of the plant is the noticeable bell-shaped flower, which is usually blue or violet in color.

The Latin name, Mertensia, was given to this plant by Carolus Linnaeus in honor of the German botanist Franz Mertens. The specific epithet refers to the colony of Virginia.

These herbaceous plants grow best in moist, rich, and loamy soils. They can be found in upland forests, floodplain forests, wetlands and bluffs. These plants prefer slight to full shade. The single stem begins curled in shape and extends as it grows into an elegant arch to hold to blossom cluster. The leaves are alternately located around a thin, smooth stem attached by petioles near the base, but as you move upward towards the flower cluster, the leaves are simply attached straight to the stem. The leaves are oval-shaped with pinnately-simple venation. The blossom cluster is located above the simple leaves. Flowering occurs in spring from March to May.

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