Sticky Jacob's-ladder
Polemonium viscosum Nutt.
Family: Polemoniaceae, Phlox
Genus: Polemonium
Other names: sticky polemonium, sky pilot
Nomenclature: viscosum = sticky
Nativity / Invasiveness: Montana native plant
No edibility data
No medicinal data

General: low perennial from a stout taproot and much-branched, sometimes elongate root crown, up to 20 cm tall, sticky with dense, stalked glands or glandular-long-hairy, and strongly foul-smelling.

Leaves: mainly basal plus about 2 alternate, up to 15 cm long, the rather short stalk with a conspicuously expanded and paper-textured, persistent base. Leaflets numerous, crowded, mostly or all 2- to 5-cleft to the base or nearly so, thus apparently whorled, the individual segments broadly ovate or obovate, 1.5-6 mm long and 1-3 mm wide.

Flowers: several in a dense, rounded cluster, usually elongating a little in fruit, Calyx 7-12 mm long at flowering, the 5 narrow, pointed lobes shorter than the tube. Corolla blue, more or less funnel-shaped, 17-25 mm long, longer than wide, often very conspicuously so, the 5 lobes shorter than the tube. Stamens distinctly shorter than to sometimes nearly equaling the corolla. July-August.

Fruits: capsules, 3-celled, enclosed by the calyx, containing few to several seeds.


Open, rocky places at high altitudes in the mountains, commonly above timber line, in w. and c. parts of MT. Also from s.w. Alberta to WA, OR, NV and n. NM.
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