Polemonium van-bruntiae

Common Names:
van Brunt's Jacob's ladder
Growth Habit:
CPC Number:
Profile Contributors:
Elizabeth J. Farnsworth
Fully Sponsored

Reference Links

ITIS - Tropicos - USDA Plants - Fish & WildLife

Participating Institutions

The following Participating Institutions are custodians for this species in the CPC National Collection:
New England Wild Flower Society

The conservation of Polemonium van-bruntiae is fully sponsored.
Elizabeth J. Farnsworth contributed to this Plant Profile.


Polemonium van-bruntiae is an herbaceous perennial plant. It has distinctive compound leaves that resemble ladder, which give the plant its common name of Jacob's ladder. Although this attractive plant is sometimes cultivated and sold to gardening enthusiasts, it is rare in the wild throughout its range. Polemonium van-bruntiae inhabits a diverse array of wetland types, including shrub swamps, marshes, lake shores, wooded floodplains, forested swamps, springs and moist roadsides. The reasons for its rarity are somewhat puzzling, because it is not a strict habitat specialist and is widely distributed in the eastern United States and Canada. The most prevalent threat to populations of this plant is habitat conversion, especially when dam construction floods wetlands where it occurs.

Research and Management Summary:
A handfull of research studies have been performed on this and a number of closely related species. Volunteer task forces of the New England Plant Conservation Program (New England Wild Flower Society, Framingham, Massachusetts) periodically monitor populations of this species that occur in New England.

Plant Description:
This plant grows to a height of 40-100 cm from a rhizome and produces several alternate, pinnately compound leaves with 15-21 pointed, oval leaflets on short petioles. The blue-purple, bell-like, 2-cm-long flowers make this species unique from other Polemonium species in the east because they have long stamens that are exserted beyond the petals.

Distribution & Occurrence


Conservation, Ecology & Research