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Common Herb Species of the Northwest Forest

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SHRUBS

GRAMINOIDS

FERNS & FERN-ALLIES

BROPHYTES & LICHENS

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Terminology | Pictorial

   
Mertensia paniculata
Northern Bluebell
"Tall Lungwort"

Boraginaceae (Borage Family)

Description

Northern Bluebell General - an erect perennial from woody base; one to several stems; growing 20 - 80 cm tall, sometimes up to 1 m; hairy.

Leaves - with prominent veins, coarsely rough-hairy above or on both sides; basal leaves long-stalked, egg- to heart-shaped; stem leaves narrower, 3 - 15 cm long, short-stalked; smaller, stalkless upwards.

Flowers - few to many in branched clusters at stem tips or from upper leaf axils, congested at first, more open later; petals blue, sometimes pink or white, bell-shaped, 8 - 15 mm long, drooping, with protruding styles.; appearing mid-summer.

Fruit - four nutlets, 2.5 - 5 mm long, wrinkled; ripening late-summer to early-fall.

Habitat

Moist woods, thickets, meadows and streambanks; widespread across boreal forest and northern parkland.

Notes

The dried leaves were used in herbal tea mixtures, especially when treating the lungs. (It was considered stimulating to the respiratory system.) Externally, the leaves can be used as poultices on cuts and wounds. Northern Bluebell can be used as a potherb, but is a bit too hairy for salads.


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