Research completed for my master's thesis at San Francisco State University


In 1828 Lindley remarked about Polemonium that “the whole genus and order are in a miserable state of confusion.” Since then several taxonomists have studied the genus, but questions remain about relationships, identities, and ranges among several species of Polemonium. In particular, three California species continue to be sources of ambiguity. The first, P. chartaceum, is a species that has a notable disjunct in distribution, and a closer look and the biogeography and morphometric distinctions of this taxon supplemented with molecular research supports the Mt. Eddy population of P. chartaceum is the new species P. eddyense. Secondly, P. pulcherrimum is a species that exhibits an array of phenotypic variation, and this coupled with limited studies of this taxon has resulted in over a few dozen intraspecifics and synonyms recognized. A thorough examination of the two known from California resulted in the recombination of a new variety, P. pulcherrimum var. shastense. Finally, the third species, P. carneum, had not been collected in California for over fifty years and was thought to be extirpated from the state. But, after discovering a population in northern California it can be established that this species is not extinct from the state. In addition to the Californian Polemoniums P. confertum, P. elusum, and P. occidentale also warranted further study. Polemonium confertum and the intraspecifics of P. occidentale do not warrant recognition as distinct taxa, but P. elusum is a new species from Idaho. The resolution of these issues allowed for a clearer sense of the conservation needs of these taxa.

Go to: Jepson E-Flora Key to Polemonium 

Go to: Revisions in Polemonium