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

Polemonium pulcherrimum Hook.
Showy Jacob's-ladder (Jacob's-ladder)
Polemoniaceae (Phlox family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Brian Klinkenberg  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #29755)

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Distribution of Polemonium pulcherrimum
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Polemonium pulcherrimum var. pulcherrimum

Species Information

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Perennial herb from a branched stem-base atop a taproot; stems loosely erect to sprawling, clustered, spreading glandular-hairy especially in the inflorescence, sometimes nearly smooth elsewhere, foul-smelling if rubbed, 5-35 cm tall.
Basal leaves tufted and well-developed, pinnately compound with 11 to 25 egg-shaped to circular, opposite or offset leaflets, glandular-hairy when young; stem leaves few, reduced.
Inflorescences crowded, terminal head-like clusters of long-stalked flowers; corollas blue, rarely white, with yellow centres, bell-shaped, 7-13 mm long, the 5 rounded lobes equalling to nearly twice as long as the tube; calyces 4-7 mm long, the 5 lobes lance-oblong.
Capsules, 3-chambered.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Dry to mesic, rocky slopes and ridges, gravelly or sandy terraces, meadows, roadsides and open forests in the montane to alpine zones; common in BC in and east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains, also known from a single location in the Queen Charlotte Islands; N to AK, YT and NT, E to SW AB and S to CO and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Polemonium pulcherrimum

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) 185 1610 2682
Slope Gradient (%) 0 25 110
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 185 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 2 7
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(50), BAFA(55), BWBS(33), ESSF(264), ICH(6), IDF(89), IMA(17), MS(86), PP(2), SBPS(51), SBS(46), SWB(23)


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 montane boreal & cool temperate.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References