Polemonium reptans
Jacob's ladder
Image of Polemonium reptans

Photo by Ryan P. O'Connor 

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Key Characteristics

Small forb of wet forests, prairies, and fens; leaves pinnately compound with small, elliptical leaflets (2-4 cm long); blue, bell-shaped flowers borne in loose clusters.

Status and Rank

  • State Status: T
  • State Rank: S2
  • Global Rank: G5

Occurrences

County NameNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Berrien202013
Cass102008
Lapeer11968
Lenawee11999
Oakland12005
Van Buren12005
Washtenaw11982
Distribution map for Polemonium reptans

Updated 7/21/2017. 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

This species frequently inhabits prairie fens, wet prairies, and mesic floodplains.

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.

Associated Plants

Tamarack, grass-of-parnassus, shrubby cinquefoil, Virginia mountain mint, Ohio goldenrod, Riddell's goldenrod, Indian grass, hardstem bulrush, three-square, twig-rush, prairie dropseed, small white lady's slipper, bog valerian, edible valerian, rush, golden-seeded spike-rush, spike-rush, joe-pye weed, pitcher-plant, sun dew, Sphagnum mosses, common boneset, little bluestem, big bluestem, blue-joint grass, whorled loosestrife, black-eyed Susan, marsh fern, bog birch, dogwoods, willows, alder-leaved buckthorn, meadowsweet, water hemlock, bog clearweed, strict sedge, and marsh bellflower.

Management

Since Jacob's ladder occurs in both open and shaded situations, it is probably less vulnerable to shading by woody species than many other fen and prairie plants. It is undoubtedly sensitive to hydrologic alterations.

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 Dec 18, 2017]

More Information

See MNFI Species Abstract

References

Survey References

Technical References

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