Towering jacob's ladder
Idaho and Nevada, southeast to New Mexico
Conifer woodland, meadows; montane and subalpine zones; up to 12,000 feet
Compound; divided into 15 to 27 lanceolate leaflets, each one inch long
Polemonium foliosissimum is a pretty plant, and quite noticeable; it grows to a height of 3 feet, producing one or several stems that bear compound leaves at the base and at intervals most of the way to the tip. Leaves and stems may have a slightly glandular hairy surface.
The bell-shaped flowers form in small clusters at the top of the stems; blooms have five overlapping, pale purple (less often white or pale yellow) petals with branched, dark purple veins radiating out from the base. The center of the flower is green, containing five white, yellow-tipped stamens and a longer white style, projecting beyond the petals, and divided into three lobes at the tip. Beneath the corolla are five green, glandular-hairy sepals, about equal in length to the corolla tube.
Four varieties are the high elevation var alpinum, the pale yellow-flowered var flavum, var foliosissimum and var molle.