Virginia Bluebell

(Mertensia virginica)

This showy flower spreads easily in rich, moist soil, often in the flood plain of a creek or river. In Duff Park it is found along Violet Trail, but it is spreading elsewhere in the park. The round buds emerge early in the spring before the leaves appear. These purple marble like balls will become flowers at the top of slowly unfolding tall stems: blue or blue/pink clusters of bells. Oblong velvety leaves, from 1-8 inches long, appear when the flowers are in full bloom.  Roots of the bluebell are deep and strong and very hard to dig up.