General: perennial with a slenderly branched root crown or
system of rhizomes arising from an eventual taproot, 10-50
cm tall, hairless or with inconspicuous bristly hairs.
Leaves: several, the edges smooth or with some short,
stiff hairs up to 0.2 mm long. Basal leaves long-stalked,
sometimes with broadly ovate to rounded, angular-toothed
blades up to 2 cm long, often withering soon. Stem leaves
alternate, more or less numerous, narrower and more
elongate, commonly linear or nearly so, mostly 1.5-8 cm
long and seldom as much as 1 cm wide.
Flowers: typically several in a lax, open cluster, solitary
in stunted or subalpine specimens, the flowers erect or
nodding. Calyx lobes 4-12 mm long, usually entire. Corolla
blue, 15-30 mm long, the 5 lobes much shorter than the
tube. Style equaling or generally shorter than the corolla.
Anthers 4.5-6.5 mm long.
Flowering time: June-September.
Fruits: capsules, nodding, broadly inversely conic to
narrowly cyathiform, 5-8 mm long, opening by pores near
In a wide variety of habitats, plains to subalpine, in most
parts of MT. Circum-boreal, but not at high latitudes,
extending s. in the mountains to TX, n. Mexico, and n. CA.
Easily cultivated, but apt to become somewhat weedy.
Edible and Medicinal plant, see below.
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