[The Genus Polemonium East of the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and Washington]

Sky Pilot, Skunkweed, Sticky Polemonium

Polemonium viscosum

Synonyms: Polemonium viscosum ssp. genuinum, Polemonium viscosum ssp. lemmonii

Sky Pilot, Skunkweed, Sticky Polemonium: Polemonium viscosum (Synonyms: Polemonium viscosum ssp. genuinum, Polemonium viscosum ssp. lemmonii)

Sky pilot as seen near the East Rim Viewpoint, Steens Mountain Recreation Area.........July 11, 2014.

Characteristics:

Sky pilot is also known as skunk polemonium. It is an attractive perennial wildflower with loose clusters of leaves and stems from 10-20 cm high. Plants are densely covered with glandular hairs and they also are ill-scented. The leaves are largely basal. They range from 8-18 cm long with numerous leaflets clustered or whorled about the midvein of the compound pinnate leaf (See the photo below.). Individual leaflets are cleft into 2-5 oblong or obovate segments, each from 3-10 mm long.

The inflorescence consists of cymes or clusters of flowers at the ends of the stems. The sticky calyx is 7-12 mm long. The corolla is 18-30 mm long and bell-shaped. The 5 petals are are bright blue or violet in color. The cylindrical tube is 15-25 mm long and much longer than the calyx. The lobes of the corolla are shorter than the tube. In length, the stamens are much shorter than to nearly equal the length of the corolla.


Habitat:

Sky pilot may be found on cliffs, ledges and open, rocky places at high elevations in the mountains.


Range:

Sky pilot may be found east of the Cascade Mts. from Okanogan County in Washington south through central Oregon to the Wallow and Steens Mts., and southeast to central Nevada and northern Arizona. It is found throughout much of the Rocky Mts.


Sky Pilot, Skunkweed, Sticky Polemonium: Polemonium viscosum (Synonyms: Polemonium viscosum ssp. genuinum, Polemonium viscosum ssp. lemmonii) - Sky Pilot, Skunkweed, Sticky Polemonium: Polemonium viscosum (Synonyms: Polemonium viscosum ssp. genuinum, Polemonium viscosum ssp. lemmonii)

Basal leaf of Sky Pilot, Skunkweed, Sticky Polemonium: Polemonium viscosum (Synonyms: Polemonium viscosum ssp. genuinum, Polemonium viscosum ssp. lemmonii)

Basal leaf of Sky Pilot, Skunkweed, Sticky Polemonium: Polemonium viscosum (Synonyms: Polemonium viscosum ssp. genuinum, Polemonium viscosum ssp. lemmonii)

Sky Pilot, Skunkweed, Sticky Polemonium: Polemonium viscosum (Synonyms: Polemonium viscosum ssp. genuinum, Polemonium viscosum ssp. lemmonii)

Additional close-up images of the leaves and flowers of sky pilot as seen near the East Rim Viewpoint, Steens Mountain Recreation Area.........July 11, 2014.

The photo above shows a close-up of the calyx and flower of sky pilot from the East Rim Viewpoint, Steens Mt., southeastern Oregon.......June 24, 2000.

The photo above shows a close-up of the leaf of sky pilot from the East Rim Viewpoint, Steens Mt., southeastern Oregon......June 24, 2000. Note the numerous glands.

Paul Slichter