Broad-leaf bluebells beginning to bloom at a seep in wet meadows along the South Loop Road about one mile downhill from the East Rim Viewpoint, Steens Mountain..........August 31, 2011.
Also known as streamside bluebell, broad-leaf bluebell is an erect wildflower with many stems clustered atop a thick taproot and ranging to 40-100 cm high. The stems are glabrous and often glaucous. The numerous leaves are evidently veined. The basal leaves when present are elliptical to ovate in shape with long petioles. The glabrous stem leaves are slightly reduced in size, with narrow elliptic to narrow-ovate shapes and short (lower) to clasping leaves (upper). They range in size from 3-15 cm long and 1-5 cm wide.
The inflorescence is an open, branched and often nodding panicle. The flowers are tubular, with an expanded funnel-like open. The petals are all united except at the very tip. In considering the length of the flower, the tube is roughly equal (0.8-1.2 X) in size to the funneliform corolla. The flowers are a medium bluish-purple color and about 10-17 mm long. The sepals are 1.5-3 mm long and are not united but are deeply cleft, and are fringed with hairs.
Broad-leaf bluebell is found from the foothills to high elevations in mountainous areas. Typical habitats it would be found in are stream banks, wet meadows, and wet cliffs or rock fall areas. It may found up to elevations of 3600 meters in the mountains.
Mertensia ciliata is found from central Oregon eastward through southern Idaho to southwest Montana, and south to Colorado, Utah, northern New Mexico and California.