or Greek Valerian
Jacob’s Ladder is a biblical reference to the story of Jacob, who dreamed of a ladder to heaven. This plant’s leaves branch in an opposite fashion and appear like rungs on a ladder. The small (1/2-inch) purple or bluish (lavender) flowers grow in clusters and have a bell-like shape with protruding stamens. The plant grows in moist woods and along streams; in southern VIrginia it can be found flowering in April and May.
There is both a native Polemonium and an “escaped” Europeon variety that is widely found in wild places. This plant was used historically to treat ailments of the respiratory system.