Spreading Jacob's ladder Polemonium reptans, copyright Krzysztof Ziarnek, Kenraiz.

Belongs within: Ericales.
Contains: Phlox, Navarretia, Gilia, Linanthus, Eriastrum.

The Polemoniaceae are a group of mostly herbaceous, often strong-smelling plants native to Eurasia and the Americas. The Cobaeoideae of the tropical Americas are mostly mesic vines (more rarely small trees or herbs) bearing large flowers.

Characters (from Hickman 1993): Annuals, perennials, shrubs, or vines. Leaves simple or compound, cauline (or most in basal rosette), alternate or opposite; stipules absent. Inflorescences are cymes, heads, or flowers solitary. Flower with calyx generally five-ribbed, ribs often connected by translucent membranes that are generally torn by growing fruit; corolla generally five-lobed, radial or bilateral, salverform to bell-shaped, throat often well defined; stamens generally 5, epipetalous, attached at same or different levels, filaments of same or different lengths, pollen white, yellow, blue, or red; ovary superior, chambers generally 3, style 1, stigmas generally 3. Fruit a capsule. Seeds 1–many, gelatinous or not when wet.

    |--Acanthogilia [Acanthogilioideae] T00
    |--Cobaeoideae T00
    |    |--Bonplandia T00
    |    |--Cantua T00
    |    `--Cobaea T00
    `--Polemonium D37 [Polemonioideae T00]
         |--P. acutiflorum CS77
         |--P. californicum H93
         |--P. carneum H93
         |--P. chartaceum H93
         |--P. elegans H93
         |--P. eximium H93
         |--P. micranthum H93
         |--P. occidentale [incl. P. caeruleum ssp. amygdalinum] H93
         |--P. pulcherrimum H93
         |    |--P. p. var. pulcherrimum H93
         |    `--P. p. var. pilosum H93
         `--P. reptans D37

Polemoniaceae incertae sedis:
  Phlox BR65
  Navarretia H93
  Gilia MD82
  Ipomopsis WMS97
    |--I. aggregata WMS97
    |    |--I. a. ssp. aggregata WMS97
    |    |--I. a. ssp. bridgesii H93
    |    `--I. a. ssp. formosissima WMS97
    |--I. arizonica [=I. aggregata ssp. arizonica] H93
    |--I. congesta H93
    |    |--I. c. ssp. congesta H93
    |    |--I. c. ssp. montana H93
    |    `--I. c. ssp. palmifrons H93
    |--I. depressa H93
    |--I. effusa H93
    |--I. macrosiphon WMS97
    |--I. polycladon H93
    |--I. tenuifolia [=Loeselia tenuifolia] H93
    `--I. tenuituba WMS97
         |--I. t. ssp. tenuituba WMS97
         `--I. t. ssp. latiloba WMS97
  Collomia C06
    |--C. coccinea C06
    |--C. diversifolia H93
    |--C. gracilis D03
    |--C. grandiflora C55b
    |--C. heterophylla H93
    |--C. larsenii [=C. debilis var. larsenii] H93
    |--C. linearis H93
    |--C. tinctoria H93
    `--C. tracyi H93
  Linanthus H93
  Allophyllum H93
    |--A. divaricatum H93
    |--A. gilioides H93
    |    |--A. g. ssp. gilioides H93
    |    `--A. g. ssp. violaceum H93
    |--A. glutinosum H93
    `--A. integrifolium H93
  Eriastrum H93
  Gymnosteris H93
    |--G. nudicaulis H93
    `--G. parvula H93
  Langloisia setosissima H93
    |--L. s. ssp. setosissima H93
    `--L. s. ssp. punctata H93
  Leptodactylon H93
    |--L. californicum (see below for synonymy) H93
    |--L. jaegeri H93
    `--L. pungens [incl. L. pungens ssp. hallii, L. pungens ssp. hookeri, L. pungens ssp. pulchriflorum] H93
  Loeseliastrum H93
    |--L. matthewsii [=Langloisia matthewsii] H93
    `--L. schottii [=Langloisia schottii] H93

Leptodactylon californicum [incl. L. californicum ssp. brevitrichomum, L. californicum ssp. glandulosum, L. californicum ssp. leptotrichomum, L. californicum ssp. tomentosum] H93

*Type species of generic name indicated


[BR65] Black, J. M., & E. L. Robertson. 1965. Flora of South Australia. Part IV. Oleaceae–Compositae. W. L. Hawes, Government Printer: Adelaide.

[C55] Candolle, A. de. 1855. Géographie Botanique Raisonée: Ou exposition des faits principaux et des lois concernant la distribution géographique des plantes de l’époque actuelle vol. 2. Librairie de Victor Masson: Paris.

[C06] Cheeseman, T. F. 1906. Manual of the New Zealand Flora. John Mackay, Government Printer: Wellington.

[CS77] Cramp, S., & K. E. L. Simmons (eds) 1977. Handbook of the Birds of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa: The Birds of the Western Palaearctic vol. 1. Ostrich to Ducks. Oxford University Press: Oxford.

[D37] Dobzhansky, T. 1937. Genetics and the Origin of Species. Columbia University Press: New York.

[D03] Dusén, P. 1903. The vegetation of western Patagonia. In: Scott, W. B. (ed.) Reports of the Princeton University Expeditions to Patagonia, 1896–1899 vol. 8. Botany pp. 1–34. The University: Princeton (New Jersey).

[H93] Hickman, J. C. (ed.) 1993. The Jepson Manual: Higher Plants of California. University of California Press: Berkeley (California).

[MD82] Mishler, B. D., & M. J. Donoghue. 1982. Species concepts: a case for pluralism. Systematic Zoology 31 (4): 491–503.

[T00] Thorne, R. F. 2000. The classification and geography of the flowering plants: dicotyledons of the class Angiospermae (subclasses Magnoliidae, Ranunculidae, Caryophyllidae, Dilleniidae, Rosidae, Asteridae, and Lamiidae). The Botanical Review 66: 441–647.

[WMS97] Wolf, P. G., R. A. Murray & S. D. Sipes. 1997. Species-independent, geographical structuring of chloroplast DNA haplotypes in a montane herb Ipomopsis (Polemoniaceae). Molecular Ecology 6: 283–291.

Last updated: 31 December 2021.

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