Quaker Ladies

Houstonia caerulea

Everyone has seen bluets before, but did you know that the real name for them is Quaker Ladies? This is a native plant that goes unnoticed most of the time, because it is so small and low-growing. That is, until springtime. That is when Quaker Ladies send up their slender flower stalks and the beauty pageant begins.

Each stem holds one or two flowers that are only about a half-inch wide; the tiny leaves are opposite.  The flowers are tube-shaped and open into four distinct, bluish lobes that surround a yellow center. To say that they are absolutely darling does not do them full justice.  They are simply the picture of happiness!

A few of these photos were taken at Primland, near Meadows of Dan, where a lovely colony of bluets was found hugging the bank of a mountain spring in early May. Nearby, a woodland gnome was sampling water, so he managed to get in the picture too. The other two photos were taken along Rock Castle Creek near Floyd, VA, in mid-April.

Quaker Ladies or Bluets
Quaker Ladies or Bluets


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Joyce Fenner says:

    Happiness! This is a beautiful site whether a person is very interested in weeds (ahem, wildflowers) or simply sticks around to see such wonderful photos of our Virginia woods. I’ll be back.

  2. Trudi Hinze says:

    Bluets/Quakers Ladies. Yes, this is a lovely flower, one must see it to realize the full benefits of its beauty. Years ago, I read in a book about wildflowers and how they acquired their names [which disappeared from our local library] It stated they were so named (Quakers Ladies) by Indians as they would track where the Quakers traveled by seeing where the flowers grew [as the seeds dropped from their shoes]. It is a delight to see the flowers in early spring as they appear in clusters or stand alone. Some people do mistake them for violets and one can see in the pictures that violet leaves are among the bluets.

    1. gloria says:

      Nice story! Thanks for sharing it! Such a simple flower, but yet so charming!

  3. Joan says:

    I posted a picture that my daughter-in-law took in the spring of 2015 of bluets in North Carolina. One of the bluets has 5 petals. An interesting variation or mutation. I did a search to see if that trait happens with any frequency and ran across another who had photographed some bluets only to see in the photo that one of hers also had 5 petals. I made a puzzle of my daughter-in-law’s here: https://www.jigidi.com/jigsaw-puzzle/S9GKIYJL/mutation-or-variation The site I found with another five petal bluet is here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/23881436@N05/5795745586

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