Jacob’s Ladder is found in rich, shaded, moist woods. Although it is a spring ephemeral, it seems to persist vegetatively well into the summer. It spreads by seeding itself, so it is a common plant in the Midwest, Appalachian, and Great Lakes regions. The leaves are pinnately compound, and the flowers are pollinated by bees.
Like many spring blooming natives, the bloom time on Jacob’s Ladder is short but sweet. The few short weeks in late April or May that the flowers appear, the plant will be covered in blooms that range from shades of pink to blue. Jacob’s ladder gets its name from its foliage. The long compound leaves have small leaflets along a central stem that resemble a ladder. These plants are prized for their dainty, bell shaped blue blooms in spring. Jacob’s Ladder will grow in full sun if it has adequate moisture, but it prefers woodlands (almost full shade) and woodland edges (partial shade.) A mature plant will only reach heights of 1′ and is deer resistant. Other common names include Bluebell, Greek Valerian, and Skunk Weed.
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