Jacob's Ladder
Photo by JUSTIN GRIGG/Missoulian

Polemonium pulcherrimum

Description: Pale blue to lavender tube-shaped flowers with white or yellow at the center and five white stamens extending outward. Grows in clusters on stems up to 12 inches with paired leaflets. Blooms May to June in moist, grassy soils along streams and in

open forests. (“Wildflowers of Montana,” by Donald Anthony Schiemann)

Recently seen: Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge outside of Stevensville.

The walk: The Lee Metcalf refuge is a nice place to take an afternoon stroll with your family and dog (leash required). Highlights include wildlife and views of the Bitterroot River and mountains. From Stevensville, follow the Eastside Highway a quarter-mile east to Wildfowl Lane and turn north. Stay on Wildfowl, going northwest a little more than two miles to a parking area on the west side of the road. Here the refuge has a system of short trails. The main Metcalf Trail is paved and runs a half-mile south, with two nearly half-mile loops – Cottonwood and Slough – branching off along the way. The Ponderosa trail is a nearly one-mile trail that loops northwest of the

main path. Look for Jacob’s Ladder under the trees near the southern end of the main trail.

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