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Katie Eberhart - Writing & Observations


Tall Bluebells (Mertensia paniculata)
Also called Tall Lungwort, Chiming Bells, Languid Lady.

Other Alaska Wildflowers

Tall Bluebells are an early and abundant flower in the northern birch forests. By early June, Tall Bluebells form clusters of buds on the top of a center stalk.

It is an unusual plant because the blossoms begin as a pale pink color, darkening to a blue-purple as they develop. The pigment anthocyanin causes the young blossoms to appear pinkish. As the flowers develop and the plant matures, its sap becomes more alkaline which tends to mask the red pigment so that the petals appear more blue.

Northern insects "see" blue better than "red" so they are more likely to visit the Tall Bluebell flowers at the right time, when the flowers are ready to be pollinated. This benefits the insects because they can acquire food (pollen) and helps the plant because its flowers are more likely to be pollinated so that viable seeds are produced.


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This page last updated June 4, 2006



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