Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica)
FAMILY: Boraginaceae (Borage Family)
FLOWERING PERIOD: April to early May.
DESCRIPTION: Perennial to 2 1/2 feet, often forming sizeable colonies. After blooming, plants quickly wither away. Large entire ovate leaves reduced in size upwards, showy cymes of bright blue flowers, these pink when young.
HABITAT: Low-lying damp woods, floodplains, stream terraces.
NOTES: Virginia bluebells ranks high among our showiest and most coveted spring wildflowers. In optimal habitats, enormous colonies can form. Rarely, a white-flowered form is found; this has been described as forma berdii. This plant is dependent upon long-tongued bees, especially bumblebees, for pollination services. Various butterflies, moths, and even Ruby-throated Hummingbirds will also visit flowers.