Mertensia cusickii from Ochoco Forest Camp, Ochoco National Forest..........April 29, 2016. The loose hairs of the calyx and leaves are somewhat visible above.
Toiyabe bluebells are an attractive perennial wildflower with several to many erect stems clustered atop a branching base from 20-50 cm high. The stems are noticeably covered with short, spreading hairs or spreading but downward pointed hairs. The bulk of the leaves are found on the stems. The lowermost leaves are scale-like but the leaves of midstem are petiolate and the largest, the blade measuring 4-14 cm long and and 1-3 cm wide. The leaves are evidently short-hairy on both leaf surfaces with the hairs spreading or appressed towards the margins.
The inflorescence is ranges from congested to branched and open. The pedicels are loosely covered with short hairs. The calyx is 3-6 mm long and the lobes are cleft nearly to the base and covered with loose hairs. The corolla tube is 5-8 mm long and contains a ring of hairs within the tube. The tube is 1-1.5 times longer than the limb. The style is 9-12 mm long and about equal in length to slightly longer than the corolla.
Toiyabe bluebells may be found from riparian areas to dry drainage-bottoms and wooded slopes or dry meadows from the foothills to middle elevations in the mountains.
Toiyabe bluebells may be found from central Oregon (the Ochoco Mts.) and southeastern Oregon (the Steens Mt.) east to southwestern Idaho (Owyhee County) and central Nevada (Toiyabe Mts.).
-Toiyabe bluebells as seen near the junction of FS Roads 42 and 3010 along the North Fork Crooked River in southeastern Big Summit Prairie, Ochoco National Forest........April 29 and 30, 2016. Note the evidently hairy leaves. The similar leafy lungwort (Mertensia oblongifolia) has glabrous or glaucous foliage.
-Toiyabe bluebells as seen in Ochoco Campground, Ochoco National Forest.........May 10, 2017. Note the ciliate leaf and calyx margins and the spreading hairs on the inside of the corolla tube which is about equal to or slightly longer than the corolla limb.
-Toiyabe bluebells as seen in Ochoco Campground, Ochoco National Forest.........May 10, 2017.
-Toiyabe bluebells observed along the Fremont National Recreation Trail #160 on the northeastern slopes of Crook Peak, Fremont-Winema National Forest......June 28, 2019.
Toiyabe bluebells at Ochoco Forest Camp, Ochoco National Forest..........May 10, 2018.
-Mertensia cusickii as seen left from along the North Fork of the Crooked River, Big Summit Prairie, Ochoco NF..........May 23, 1998. The loose hairs of the calyx and leaves are somewhat visible above. The photo at right shows Toiyabe bluebells in moist prairie at the eastern edge of Big Summit Prairie near the old Cold Springs Guard Station, Ochoco National Forest.........May 10, 2017.