Category: Boraginaceae

  • All Colors of Bluebells

    Pink form

    As their name implies, Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) are most commonly blue. But, like many other blue flowers, they also occur in a range of colors including pink, white, pale blue, and lilac. Every year we return to the bluebell patch along the Trillium Trail in Fox Chapel to find bluebells in the wrong colors.

    For a detailed description and many more pictures, see the Mertensia virginica reference page.

    Mertensia virginica
    Pale blue
    Bluebells in blue
  • Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica)

    Mertensia virginica

    Just beginning to bloom April 7 along the Trillium Trail in Fox Chapel. For a full description, see the Mertensia virginica reference page.

    Virginia Bluebells
  • Lesser Forget-Me-Not (Myosotis laxa)

    Myosotis laxa
    Photographed June 8.

    Something odd is happening with this species around here. It used to be fairly rare, but over the past few years it seems to have become a common little weed. This is a miniature version of the common Forget-Me-Not (M. scorpioides), very similar except for the size. It’s normally found near streams, but in Pittsburgh it likes the edge of a sidewalk just as well, especially if it’s a moist area like a drainpipe outflow.

    Lesser Forget-Me-Not

    Gray describes the genus and the species:

    Corolla-tube about the length of the 6-toothed or 5-cleft calyx, the throat with 5 small and blunt arching appendages opposite the rounded lobes; the latter convolute in the bud! Stamens included, on very short filaments. Nutlets compressed. Low and mostly soft-hairy herbs, with entire leaves, those of the stem sessile, and with small flowers in naked racemes, which are entirely bractless, or occasionally with small leaves next the base, prolonged and straightened in fruit. (Name composed of myos, mouse, and os, ear, from the short and soft leaves in some species.)

    M. laxa Lehm. Perennial from filiform subterranean shoots; stems very slender, decumbent; pubescence all appressed; leaves lanceolate-oblong or somewhat spatulate; calyx-lobes as long as the tube; limb of corolla rarely 5 mm. broad, paler blue. In water and wet ground, Nfd. to Ont., and southw. May-Aug. (Eu.)

    Mouse-Ear Forget-Me-Not
  • Bluebells in All Colors

    Mertensia virginica
    Photographed April 29.

    Every year we go looking for different colors of Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica). We even include some blue ones in this collection.

    Mertensia virginica
    Mertensia virginica
    Mertensia virginica
  • Siberian Bugloss (Brunnera macrophylla)

    This plant is not recorded as growing wild in the Pittsburgh area; but here it is, naturalized in Bird Park, Mount Lebanon, and blooming at the end of April in a corner of the woods where it was almost certainly not planted. Probably some seeds washed down into the park from the suburban yards on the hill above.

    Siberian Bugloss looks very much like a species of Forget-Me-Not (Myosotis spp.), but is easily distinguished by its large heart-shaped leaves (thus the specific name macrophylla, which means “large-leaved”). Gray does not describe this species, but this quick description should make identification straightforward.