Virginia Bluebells

Mertensia virginica

Virginia bluebells are also called Virginia cowslip, or Roanoke bells.  I first spotted them here in Blacksburg in a friend’s yard, but soon learned that this native wildflower grows extensively along the banks of streams and rivers in this part of Virginia, making it a riparian species.  Last year I saw them growing in profusion along the Roanoke River, near Bonners Mill in Shawsville.

The flower buds of Virginia bluebells are pink due to a chemical called anthocyanin.  When the flower is ready for pollination, it increases the alkalinity of the flower, changing the color to blue.  The combination of pink and blue flower clusters on a deep green plant make this plant a real show stopper in springtime.  These photos were taken in March and April.

Click on the photograph for a larger image.

An expanse of Virginia Bluebells along Bonner’s Run near Shawsville, VA.
Young bluebells coming up a week after the last snowfall.
Young bluebells emerging just a week after the last snowfall.
Virginia Bluebells
Virginia Bluebells

5 thoughts on “Virginia Bluebells

    1. Hi Beth,

      Thanks so much for looking at my wildflower blog! And thanks for your kind words: you’ve nailed why I do this!

      I enjoyed seeing you last week. Hope to see you again sometime this summer.


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