Mertensia franciscana is an upper elevation species with an unmistakeable flower that is pink when immature, then turns blue-purple. The leaves are ovate.
Martin and Hutchins 1980, Welsh et al. 1993, Kearney and Peebles 1969
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Erect or ascending stems to 1 m tall, usually several from a single rootstock. Leaves: Basal leaves oblong-elliptic to elliptic 6-20 cm long, 5-9 cm broad, petiole often longer than blade, base subcordate to obtuse, apex acute, stiff hairs on upper surface, glabrous to pubescent below, cauline leaves alternate, elliptic to ovate, upper ones sessile, surfaces the same as basal leaves. Flowers: In paniculate cyme, a modified scorpioid cyme, branches of inflorescence elongate with age, strigose pedicels 1-20 mm long, calyx 3-4 mm long, divided almost to base, lobes linear-lanceolate, 1-2 mm wide at base, strongly ciliate on the margins; corolla tube 5-9 mm long, glabrous to pubescent within, blue to white, corolla limb 4-6 mm long, shorter or slightly longer than tube, lobes rounded. Fruits: Four rugose or papillose nutlets. Ecology: Found in damp to moist meadows, along streams, and in other wet sites from 7,000-11,500 ft (2134-3505 m); flowers June-August. Notes: The beautiful blue tubular flowers are distinctive when paired with the alternate leaves covered in hairs. Ethnobotany: Unknown Etymology: Mertensia is named for the German botanist Franz Karl Mertens (1764-1831), while franciscana is named for St. Francis, or San Francisco. Synonyms: None Editor: SBuckley, 2010