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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Polemonium caeruleum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Polemoniaceae
Genus: Polemonium
Species: P. caeruleum
Binomial name
Polemonium caeruleum

Jacob's Ladder or Greek valerian (Polemonium caeruleum) is a hardy perennial flowering plant. The plant produces cup-shaped, lavender-coloured or white flowers. It is native to temperate regions of Europe.



The plant usually reaches a height from 45 to 60 centimeters (18 to 24 inches), but some occasionally will be taller than 90 centimeters (35 inches.) The spread of the plant is also 45 to 60 centimeters. It can grow in North American hardiness zone 2.


The plant is native to damp grasslands, woodlands, meadows and rocky areas in temperate areas of Europe.


The plant normally prefers soil that is rich in moisture and lime and does not require as much sunlight as other plants. Depending on the conditions, it will need varying amounts of water in the summer. If it is hot summer, the plant may require extra water. If it is an average summer, it probably won't need extra water.

Cats are attracted to the scent of the plant, particularly younger plants. A person who is growing Greek valerian in a container or home garden should protect the plants if they own a cat.



Medical uses

The plant was first used as a medicinal herb in ancient Greece. The ancient Greeks used the root to treat dysentery, toothaches and animal bites. The plant was also found in a few European pharmacies during the nineteenth century and was used as an antisyphilitic agent and to treat rabies. Today, the plant is not usually used medically.

Other uses

The flower is the unofficial county flower of Derbyshire.

Today, the plant is usually used in potpourris and is boiled in olive oil to make black dyes and hair dressing, but it has few other significant uses.


  • Biggs, Matthew, Vegetables, Herbs & Fruit: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, (2006) p324-325. Firefly Books Ltd., ISBN 1-55407-126-7
  • Bremness, Lesley, Herbs (Smithsonian Handbooks), (1994-2002) p205. Dorling Kindersley, Inc., ISBN 0-7894-9391-8


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Polemonium caeruleum


Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: core eudicots
Cladus: Asterids
Ordo: Unassigned Asterids
Ordo: Ericales
Familia: Polemoniaceae
Subfamilia: Polemonioideae
Genus: Polemonium
Species: Polemonium caeruleum
Subspecies: P. c. subsp. himalayanum


Polemonium caeruleum L.


  • Species Plantarum 1:162. 1753
  • USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Data from 07-Oct-06]. [1]

Vernacular names

Wikimedia Commons For more multimedia, look at Polemonium caeruleum on Wikimedia Commons.


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