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Mountain Bluebells have long tubular flowers with bell-shaped lobes of the petals that flare out at the end. They also generally have clusters of flowers at the end of the stems. Virginia bluebells have hairless leaves, and long flowers (0.7 to 1 in, 18 to 25 mm). Flower stems do not have leafy bracts (like the coastal bluebells, M. maritima). Plant Description The plant grows 1 to 2½ ft (30 to 90 cm) tall. There is a main stem, with occasional branching. The plant has a taproot, and often forms colonies. The stems are subsucculent and nearly hollow. Leaves: Leaves are simple, alternate, large, 7 in (18 cm) long by 3 in (7.5 cm) wide, and oval shaped. Leaves are grey-green, entire (not toothed) and smooth, without any hairs. The veins are very conspicuous, and appear carved into the leaves in arch shapes. Leaves die back beneath the ground after the plant flowers. Flowers: The buds of Virginia Bluebells start out reddish purple and become blue, trumpet-shaped flowers clustered at the ends of stems. Very rarely you might see a bluebell plant with white or pink flowers. They have a long corolla, or thin narrow tube of five fused petals, which flares out into a bell shape at the tip. Flowers are ¾ to 1 in long (2 to 2.5 cm). In the center, the five yellow tipped stamens barely reach the edge of the flower opening. Flowers bloom from April to May. Fruits: Four tiny brown nutlets (seeds covered by a wrinkled stony layer) per flower. Habitat: Virginia bluebells are usually found in moist, shady sites like wooded areas with rich soil. Quebec and Ontario, east to Maine, and south to the Gulf Coast.


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© Project BudBurst, National Ecological Observatory Network, Inc.

Source: Project BudBurst

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