Polemonium reptans

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Polemonium reptans
Polemonium reptans 2009.jpg
Polemonium reptans flowers
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Polemoniaceae
Genus: Polemonium
Species: P. reptans
Binomial name
Polemonium reptans

Polemonium reptans is a flowering plant in the genus Polemonium, native to eastern North America. Common names include Abscess Root, Creeping or Spreading Jacob's Ladder, False Jacob's Ladder, American Greek Valerian, Blue bells, Stairway to Heaven, and Sweatroot.


It is a perennial herbaceous plant growing to 50 cm tall, with pinnate leaves up to 20 cm long with 5–13 leaflets. The flowers are blue to violet, 1.3 cm long, with a five-lobed corolla.


The dried roots have a slightly bitter and acrid taste. The root is rarely used in modern herbalism. It is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use.

Range and habitat[edit]

Polemonium reptans is typically found in rich, moist woods, often along streambanks.[1][2] It range extends from Minnesota to New Hampshire in the north, and from Georgia to Mississippi in the south.[2] It is most abundant west of the Appalachian Mountains.[1][2]



  1. ^ a b Carman, Jack B. (2001). Wildflowers of Tennessee. Highland Rim Press. p. 206. 
  2. ^ a b c Horn, Dennis; Tavia Cathcart (2005). Wildflowers of Tennessee, the Ohio Valley, and the Southern Appalachians. Edmonton: Lone Pine Publishing. p. 243. ISBN 1551054280. 

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