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Vascular Plants of California
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Polemonium pulcherrimum

Higher Taxonomy
Family: PolemoniaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Annual, perennial herb, shrub, vine. Leaf: simple or compound, cauline (or most basal), alternate or opposite; stipules 0. Inflorescence: cymes, heads, clusters, or flower 1; bracts in involucres or not. Flower: sepals generally 5, fused at base, translucent membrane generally connecting lobes, torn by fruit; corolla generally 5-lobed, radial or bilateral, salverform to bell-shaped, throat often well defined; stamens generally 5, epipetalous, attached at >= 1 level, filaments of >= 1 length, pollen white, yellow, blue, or red; ovary superior, chambers generally 3, style 1, stigmas generally 3. Fruit: capsule. Seed: 1--many, when wetted swelling or not, gelatinous or not.
Genera In Family: 26 genera, 314 species: America, northern Europe, northern Asia; some cultivated (Cantua, Cobaea (cup-and-saucer vine), Collomia, Gilia, Ipomopsis, Linanthus, Phlox). Note: Leptodactylon moved to Linanthus.
eFlora Treatment Author: Robert W. Patterson, family description, key to genera, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Robert W. Patterson, Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: PolemoniumView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual, perennial herb. Stem: decumbent to erect, 10--100 cm, glandular-hairy, hairy, or glabrous. Leaf: pinnate-compound, alternate; basal petiole base membranous or not, sheathing or not; cauline sessile above; leaflets entire to divided, glabrous to glandular-hairy. Inflorescence: cyme or head. Flower: calyx bell-shaped, membranous in age but not separated into membrane and lobes, glandular-hairy; corolla rotate to funnel- or bell-shaped, tube << throat, lobes white to blue or purple; stamens attached at 1 level, filaments hairy at base; ovary generally +- 1 mm, +- 1 mm wide. Fruit: ovoid to spheric. Seed: <= 10, generally 1--3 mm, elliptic to ovate, +- gelatinous when wet, brown to black.
Etymology: (Greek: perhaps from Polemon, Athenian philosopher, or polemos, strife or war) Note: Perennial herb generally cross-pollinated, annual self-pollinated. Polemonium eddyense newly described; Polemonium pulcherrimum var. shastense newly recognized.
eFlora Treatment Author: Rebecca L. Stubbs, Ruth E. Timme & Dieter H. Wilken
Reference: Pritchett 1993 M.S. Thesis, San Francisco State Univ; Stubbs & Patterson 2013 Madroño 60:243--248
Unabridged Reference: Grant 1989 Bot Gaz 150:158--169; Pritchett & Patterson 1998 Madroño 45:200--209
Polemonium pulcherrimum Hook.
Habit: Perennial herb, cespitose, hairy; rhizome short. Stem: erect, 5--20 cm. Leaf: basal < 6 cm, 5--10 mm wide, cauline much reduced, glandular-hairy; petioles 5--13 mm, bases not membranous, sheathing; leaflets 9--22, 3--4 mm, 2--4 mm wide, ovate to round, entire, terminal generally free from adjacent pair. Inflorescence: dense, 4--5 flowered, generally above leaves; pedicel 2--5 mm. Flower: calyx 4--5 mm, lobes +- = tube, acute; corolla rotate to bell-shaped, limb 5--11 mm diam, throat +- 3 mm, lobes +- 4 mm; stamens 3--5 mm, included; pistil 5--6 mm, ovary < 1.5 mm, < 1 mm wide, style included. Fruit: 3--4 mm, +- 2 mm wide. Seed: <=3, dark brown to black. Chromosomes: 2n=18.

Jepson eFlora Author: Rebecca L. Stubbs, Ruth E. Timme & Dieter H. Wilken
Reference: Pritchett 1993 M.S. Thesis, San Francisco State Univ; Stubbs & Patterson 2013 Madroño 60:243--248
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Citation for this treatment: Rebecca L. Stubbs, Ruth E. Timme & Dieter H. Wilken 2014, Polemonium pulcherrimum, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, Revision 2,, accessed on May 22, 2024.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2024, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 22, 2024.

Polemonium pulcherrimum subsp. delicatum
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©2009 Barry Breckling
Polemonium pulcherrimum subsp. pulcherrimum
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©2016 Keir Morse
Polemonium pulcherrimum subsp. pulcherrimum
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©2016 Keir Morse
Polemonium pulcherrimum  
var. shastense
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©2015 Neal Kramer
Polemonium pulcherrimum  
var. pulcherrimum
click for enlargement
©2011 Steve Matson

More photos of Polemonium pulcherrimum
in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Polemonium pulcherrimum:
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2. County and Jepson Region polygons can be turned off and on using the check boxes.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).


Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).