Mertensia virginica
Virginia bluebells
Image of Mertensia virginica

Photo by Ryan P. O'Connor 

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Key Characteristics

Medium-sized (to 60 cm) branching forb of floodplain forests; leaves broadly elliptical with smooth margins and rounded tips, glabrous; flowers blue and bell-shaped.

Status and Rank

  • State Status: E
  • State Rank: S1S2
  • Global Rank: G5

Occurrences

County NameNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Calhoun11888
Eaton11888
Kent72016
Lenawee11987
Muskegon12011
Ottawa52016
Wexford11961
Distribution map for Mertensia virginica

Updated 1/31/2017. Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.

Habitat

Virginia bluebells occurs in first and second bottoms of riparian forests in southern Lower Michigan.

Natural Community Types

Methodology

For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.

Feel free to send questions and comments to Brad Slaughter at slaugh14@msu.edu.

Associated Plants

Silver maple, black maple, sycamore, hackberry, cottonwood, blue-beech, red ash, beech, sugar maple, basswood, spicebush, poison ivy, wild ginger, false rue anemone, toothwort, false mermaid, Canada waterleaf, green dragon, jack-in-the-pulpit, and creamy white violet.

Management

Conserve hydrology of river system and corresponding cyclical floodplain regime. Maintain healthy intact, mature floodplain forests and minimize forest fragmentation. When possible, leave large tracts of unharvested forests and allow natural processes to operate unhindered.

General Survey Guidelines

Random meander search covers areas that appear likely to have rare taxa, based on habitat and the judgment of the investigator.

Survey Methods

Page Citation

Michigan Natural Features Inventory. 2007. Rare Species Explorer (Web Application). Available online at http://mnfi.anr.msu.edu/explorer [Accessed Apr 30, 2017]

More Information

See MNFI Species Abstract

References

Survey References

Technical References

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