E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Polemonium viscosum Nutt.
sky pilot (skunk Jacob's-ladder; skunk polemonium; sticky Jacob's-ladder; sticky polemonium)
Polemoniaceae (Phlox family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jim Riley  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #28742)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Polemonium viscosum
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Species Information

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Low, often dwarfed, perennial herb from a branched stem-base and stout taproot; plant densely glandular-hairy or stalked-glandular, strongly skunky-smelling; stems several, erect, 10-30 cm tall.
Mostly basal, up to 15 cm long including the short stalks, with expanded persistent papery bases; leaflets numerous, crowded, cleft almost to the base into 2 to 5 elliptic to spoon-shaped lobes and so appearing whorled, each segment 1.5-6 mm long, 1-3 mm wide.
Inflorescences dense head-like clusters of short-stalked, sweet-scented flowers; corollas blue-purple, funnel-shaped, 17-25 (30) mm long, the 5 rounded lobes shorter than the tube; calyces 7-12 mm long, with 5 lanceolate lobes; stamens shorter than to sometimes equal to the corolla.
Capsules, 3-chambered.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Dry rocky ridges and slopes in the upper subalpine and alpine zones; infrequent in the Coast-Cascade Mountains S of 51degreeN, rare in extreme SE BC; E to SW AB and S to NM, NV and NE OR.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Polemonium viscosum

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 2280 2361 2562
Slope Gradient (%) 26 49 82
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
95 162 277
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
2 2 2
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: AT(5), ESSF(1)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Polemonium confertum A. Gray
Polemonium viscosum subsp. genuinum Wherry
Polemonium viscosum subsp. lemmonii (Brand) Wherry

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References