Plant ID forum: Polemonium--which one?

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Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
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dirtdorphins
Apr 22, 2014 9:15 PM CST
Thumb of 2014-04-23/dirtdorphins/41c64d


Thumb of 2014-04-23/dirtdorphins/b16cf9

Name: Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Plant Identifier
growitall
Apr 22, 2014 10:08 PM CST
Seems to be Polemonium boreale.

Here are references and photos:
http://linnet.geog.ubc.ca/Atlas/Atlas.aspx?sciname=Polemoniu...
http://www.arcticatlas.org/photos/pltspecies/spp_details.php...
http://www.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/potd/2011/02/polemonium_bo...
https://www.google.ca/search?q=polemonium+boreale&client=saf...
[Last edited by growitall - Apr 22, 2014 10:42 PM (+)]
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Name: Janet Super Sleuth
Near Lincoln UK
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JRsbugs
Apr 23, 2014 3:20 AM CST
Polemonium pulcherrimum looks close, does it have a 'skunky smell'? The leaves look quite rounded ..

Leaves pinnately divided into 9–21 widely oval to round leaflets


http://www.pnwflowers.com/flower/polemonium-pulcherrimum

Name: Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Plant Identifier
growitall
Apr 23, 2014 6:42 AM CST
P. boreale has leaves pinnately divided in 13-23 (the first link I posted has the description from Flora of Alberta), so there is considerable overlap there.
P. pulcherrimum is a common alpine here (I've also grown it), and my impression is that it tends to be a looser-leafed, sprawling plant than the one in the photo.

Aside from the skunky smell (and perhaps general habit), the tube length of the flowers may also distinguish these two.
Here's a description of P. pulcherrimum:
http://linnet.geog.ubc.ca/Atlas/Atlas.aspx?sciname=Polemoniu...

The tube length for P. boreale: "the 5 lobes slightly longer than the yellowish tube and rounded at the tip".
For P. pulcherrimum: "the 5 rounded lobes equalling to nearly twice as long as the tube". (Again, some possible overlap between "slightly longer" and "equalling".)
[Last edited by growitall - Apr 23, 2014 7:00 AM (+)]
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Name: Janet Super Sleuth
Near Lincoln UK
Charter ATP Member Organic Gardener Garden Photography Bee Lover Dragonflies Cat Lover
Butterflies Birds Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Spiders!
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JRsbugs
Apr 23, 2014 7:15 AM CST
I clipped the descriptions of both species from the site you linked to Lori, easier to compare!

http://linnet.geog.ubc.ca/Atlas/Atlas.aspx?sciname=Polemoniu...

Polemonium pulcherrimum certainly looks more common, unless it's a garden plant, and I don't know the location of dirtdorphins.

http://linnet.geog.ubc.ca/Atlas/Atlas.aspx?sciname=Polemoniu...

Thumb of 2014-04-23/JRsbugs/2f5b0a Thumb of 2014-04-23/JRsbugs/9f7d9b

One of the big differences which stand out to me is the description of the leaves, for boreale it states "elliptic to oval" and for pulcherrinum "egg-shaped to circular". These leaves look very close to circular to me.

[Last edited by JRsbugs - Apr 23, 2014 7:20 AM (+)]
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Name: Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Plant Identifier
growitall
Apr 23, 2014 8:08 AM CST
Interesting that the sketch for P. pulcherrimum doesn't really suggest "egg-shaped to circular" to me. That characteristic seems to be variable.

Here are photos of local P. pulcherrimum showing elliptical leaves:

These (Turner Photographics and Calphotos) show similar leaf shapes to the plants I see here:
http://www.pnwflowers.com/flower/polemonium-pulcherrimum/gal...
http://calphotos.berkeley.edu/cgi/img_query?query_src=photos...

Will be interesting to hear if it smells skunky or not.
Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Photography Bee Lover Region: Utah Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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dirtdorphins
Apr 23, 2014 8:14 AM CST
Thank you both,
It is a fairly tight, little mat-former in my garden, no skunky odor--
After some considerable investigation into how/where I may have acquired this plant, it must be a P. boreale variety, most likely that which is sold as 'San Juan Skies' around here...

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