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Click to read about Mertensia.

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This is a native species.

Mertensia franciscana
Mertensia franciscana (Franciscan Bluebells, Flagstaff Bluebells)
Boraginaceae (Forget-Me-Not Family)

Montane, subalpine.  Streamsides.  Summer.
Horse Creek Trail, June 21, 2005.

Mertensia franciscana is common along streams, in moist meadows, and in open woods.  It grows in small patches as pictured here, or in three or four foot diameter bush-like clusters with hundreds of flowers in bloom at the same time, or, as pictured below, as individual plants.

"Franciscana" is for the San Francisco Peaks of Arizona which in turn honor St. Francis of Assisi.  Amos Heller named this plant in 1899 from a specimen collected by L. F. Ward in Utah in 1875.  (Click for biographical information about St. Francis.)

 

Mertensia franciscana

Mertensia franciscana (Franciscan Bluebells, Flagstaff Bluebells)
Boraginaceae (Forget-Me-Not Family)

Montane, subalpine.  Streamsides.  Summer.
Ryman Creek Trail, June 16, 2005.

Leaves are textured with prominent veins.

The arching shape of the plants shown at left is characteristic of Mertensia franciscana.

Mertensia franciscana
Mertensia franciscana (Franciscan Bluebells, Flagstaff Bluebells)
Boraginaceae (Forget-Me-Not Family)

Montane, subalpine.  Streamsides.  Summer.
Horse Creek Trail, June 21, 2005.

The upper surface of the leaves has strigose hairs: short, sharp, and appressed.  It is usually difficult to see these hairs in the field, even with a 10x hand lens, but if you get strong sunlight on the leaves and look at them from the side, you should be able to see the hairs glistening, as in the photograph at left.

Mertensia franciscana
Mertensia franciscana (Franciscan Bluebells, Flagstaff Bluebells)
Boraginaceae (Forget-Me-Not Family)

Montane, subalpine.  Streamsides.  Summer.
Sharkstooth Trail, August 30, 2004.

Mertensia leaf color in late summer and fall is often a subdued but handsome blend of reds and purples.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Mertensia franciscana