You are viewing this Species as classified by:

Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

This native perennial plant is 1–1½' tall, branching occasionally. The stems are usually glabrous and have a tendency to sprawl across the ground. They are often dull reddish green and somewhat angular. The alternate compound leaves are odd pinnate, consisting of about 5-15 leaflets, and they are up to 1' long. Sometimes, there are a few white hairs at the base of the petioles of the compound leaves. Each leaflet is oval to narrowly ovate, hairless, and with a margin that is smooth. It is about 1½" long and ½" across. Flowering stalks develop from the upper axils of the compound leaves that are several inches long. These stalks are glabrous and often reddish green, terminating in a small corymb of floppy or nodding flowers. Each bell-shaped flower is about 2/3" across. It has 5 rounded petals that are light blue, 5 stamens with white anthers, a style that is divided at its tip into 3 parts, and a reddish green calyx with 5 teeth that is united at the base. There are fine lines running along the length of the petals, while the stamens are the same length as, or shorter than, the petals. The blooming period usually occurs during the late spring and lasts about 2-3 weeks. The flowers are replaced by rounded capsules containing 3 cells. Each cell contains several seeds. The root system consists of a taproot. This plant spreads by reseeding itself.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Comments

This is a rather floppy plant, although both the flowers and foliage are attractive. The bell-shaped flowers and compound leaves together provide Jacob's Ladder with a distinctive appearance. The only other species that resembles it, Polemonium vanbruntiae (Greek Valerian), which is native to some of the Eastern States, doesn't occur in the wild in Illinois. This latter species is more erect in habit, and has slightly larger flowers with exerted stamens. These flowers are usually a darker shade of blue than those of Jacob's Ladder, and their anthers are often yellow, rather than white. The common name of Polemonium reptans refers to the pairs of opposite leaflets on the compound leaves, which supposedly resemble a series of steps on a ladder in a dream by the biblical Jacob.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Jacob's Ladder is an occasional to locally common plant that occurs in most areas of Illinois, except for some counties in the central portion of the state (see Distribution Map). Habitats include deciduous mesic woodlands, woodland borders, mesic black soil prairies, fens, and semi-shaded areas along rivers. This plant prefers high quality natural habitats, and rarely wonders far from wooded areas.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Polemonium reptans L.:
China (Asia)
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63110 USA

Source: Missouri Botanical Garden

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Jacob's Ladder is an occasional to locally common plant that occurs in most areas of Illinois, except for some counties in the central portion of the state (see Distribution Map). Habitats include deciduous mesic woodlands, woodland borders, mesic black soil prairies, fens, and semi-shaded areas along rivers. This plant prefers high quality natural habitats, and rarely wonders far from wooded areas.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Associations

Flower-Visiting Insects of Jacob's Ladder in Illinois

Polemonium reptans (Jacob's Ladder)
(Bees suck nectar or collect pollen; flies suck nectar or feed on pollen; other insects suck nectar; observations are from Robertson)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera sn cp fq; Apidae (Bombini): Bombus auricomus sn, Bombus bimaculatus sn, Bombus griseocallis sn fq, Bombus impatiens sn fq, Bombus pensylvanica sn fq, Bombus vagans sn, Psithyrus variabilis sn; Anthophoridae (Anthophorini): Anthophora ursina sn; Anthophoridae (Ceratinini): Ceratina calcarata sn, Ceratina dupla dupla sn fq; Anthophoridae (Eucerini): Synhalonia belfragii sn cp fq, Synhalonia speciosa sn fq; Anthophoridae (Nomadini): Nomada affabilis sn, Nomada hydrophylli sn fq, Nomada ovatus sn; Megachilidae (Osmiini): Hoplitis pilosifrons sn, Osmia atriventris sn, Osmia conjuncta sn cp fq, Osmia lignaria lignaria sn, Osmia pumila sn cp fq

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Agapostemon sericea sn, Augochlora purus purus sn cp fq, Augochlorella aurata sn, Augochlorella striata sn cp fq, Halictus rubicunda sn cp, Lasioglossum coreopsis sn cp, Lasioglossum coriaceus sn cp, Lasioglossum obscurus sn, Lasioglossum pilosus pilosus sn cp, Lasioglossum versatus sn; Andrenidae (Andreninae): Andrena carlini sn, Andrena distans sn, Andrena geranii sn fq, Andrena nasonii cp, Andrena polemonii sn cp olg, Andrena sayi sn cp

Flies
Syrphidae: Pipiza femoralis fp np, Rhingia nasica sn fp, Toxomerus marginatus fp np; Empididae: Empis pudica sn; Bombyliidae: Bombylius major sn

Butterflies
Pieridae: Colias philodice fq

Skippers
Hesperiidae: Erynnis brizo, Erynnis juvenalis fq

Moths
Sphingidae: Hemaris thysbe; Noctuidae: Anagrapha falcifera fq

Beetles
Coccinellidae: Coleomegilla maculata; Pyrochroidae: Pedilus terminalis

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Faunal Associations

The nectar and pollen of the flowers attract bees primarily, including honeybees, bumblebees, Little Carpenter bees, Mason bees, Cuckoo bees (Nomadine), Halictid bees (including Green Metallic), and Andrenid bees. A visitor from this last group, Andrena polemonii, is an oligolege of Polemonium spp. The flowers are also visited by Bombylius major (Giant Bee Fly) and various butterflies, skippers, or moths, which seek nectar. Syrphid flies also visit the flowers, but they feed on the pollen and are unlikely pollinators. Apparently, little information is available about this plant's relationships to birds and herbivorous mammals.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Polemonium reptans

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Polemonium reptans

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 4
Species With Barcodes: 1
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

The preference is light shade or partial sun, mesic conditions, and a rich soil with lots of organic matter. Full sunlight and conditions that are moister or drier are also tolerated. It is not aggressive, and adapts well to flower gardens, especially in partially shaded areas.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Wikipedia

Polemonium reptans

Polemonium reptans is a flowering plant in the genus Polemonium, native to eastern North America. Common names include Abscess Root, Creeping or Spreading Jacob's Ladder, False Jacob's Ladder, American Greek Valerian, Blue bells, Stairway to Heaven, and Sweatroot.

Growth[edit]

It is a perennial herbaceous plant growing to 50 cm tall, with pinnate leaves up to 20 cm long with 5–13 leaflets. The flowers are blue to violet, 1.3 cm long, with a five-lobed corolla.

Characteristics[edit]

The dried roots have a slightly bitter and acrid taste. The root is rarely used in modern herbalism. It is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use.

Range and habitat[edit]

Polemonium reptans is typically found in rich, moist woods, often along streambanks.[1][2] It range extends from Minnesota to New Hampshire in the north, and from Georgia to Mississippi in the south.[2] It is most abundant west of the Appalachian Mountains.[1][2]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Carman, Jack B. (2001). Wildflowers of Tennessee. Highland Rim Press. p. 206. 
  2. ^ a b c Horn, Dennis; Tavia Cathcart (2005). Wildflowers of Tennessee, the Ohio Valley, and the Southern Appalachians. Edmonton: Lone Pine Publishing. p. 243. ISBN 1551054280. 
Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Source: Wikipedia

Unreviewed

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Disclaimer

EOL content is automatically assembled from many different content providers. As a result, from time to time you may find pages on EOL that are confusing.

To request an improvement, please leave a comment on the page. Thank you!