"Jacob's Ladder, Bluebell, Greek Valerian, Skunk Weed"
|Sun Exposure||Prairie, Savanna, Woodland|
|Soil Moisture||Wet Mesic, Mesic, Dry Mesic|
Spring, Summer April, May, June
|Max Height||1 feet|
|Seeds Per Ounce||18,000|
Polemonium has two possible sources. The first is named in honor of the Greek philosopher, Polemon. The second is from the ancient Greek word for war, polemos. Pliny the Elder wrote of a short war that was fought over who actually discovered this plant. Reptans is a little more clear cut. It's from the Latin word for "creeping", itself a bit of a misnomer as this plant does not creep.
Jacob's Ladder is found throughout the Tallgrass prairie region on rich soils of moist woods and bottom lands. Blooms ranging from blue to blue-violet to lavender are quite showy from April to about mid-June. The basal leaves form a "ladder" along the central stem.
Early settlers often included this plant in a tea with May Apple to make a purge for diarrhea. The Menomonis used P. reptans to treat eczema and skin eruptions. The Meskwaki and Potawatami used it in a treatment for hemorrhoids.
Edible Uses: Unknown
Medicinal Uses: The dried roots have a slightly bitter and acrid taste. They are alterative, astringent, diaphoretic, expectorant and pectoral. They can be used in an infusion with water or as a tincture with alcohol. They are used internally in the treatment of coughs, colds, bronchitis, laryngitis, tuberculosis, feverish and inflammatory diseases, including skin conditions and poisonous bite. The root is rarely used in modern herbalism. It is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use.
Other Uses: A decoction of the whole plant is used as a hair rinse.
Herbal Uses: Unknown