Mertensia virginica Virginia bluebells Boraginaceae NY, ct (planted reported by Regina Alvarez, Christian Liriano; R, ap (planted, E. Danielsen 2017), gb (planted by R. Lynch 1984, reported by M. Feller); h (planted, reported by E. Danielsen 2017)

Mertensia virginica (Virginia bluebells).Matthew Beziat. close-up Patuxent Research Refuge, MD. 4/2017

Mertensia virginica (Virginia bluebells).Matthew Beziat. close-up Patuxent Research Refuge, MD. 4/2017

Mertensia virginica is a perennial herb; plants dying back in summer ; colonial from a fleshy rhizome; no stipules.

Leaves alternate, 5-15 cm long, smooth, slightly fleshy, smooth, margins entire, elliptic to rounded tip rounded to blunt, lower leaves tapered to base, uppermost leaves rounded, base clasping stem.

Mertensia virginica, Virginia bluebells (Boraginaceae). MBGargiullo, yard, planted. May 2015

Mertensia virginica, Virginia bluebells (Boraginaceae). MBGargiullo, yard, planted. May 2015

Flowers light blue to lavender; 5-parted, tubular petal lobes flaring outward funnel-like, sepal small, 5-lobed; inflorescence of clusters at ends of branches; stamens 5, growing from the flower tube, mostly shorter than the petal lobes.

Fruit dry, 4 nutlets, each attached to the base of the flower (gynobase).

Wetland status: FACW.

Frequency in NYC: Very infrequent.

Origin: Native.

Habitat: Wet woodlands, edges.

Notes: Mertensia as a wild plant has apparently been extirpated from the City.