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Protocol Information

Native Plant Nursery
USDI NPS - Glacier National Park
West Glacier, Montana 59936
(406) 888-7835

Family Scientific Name: Polemoniaceae
Family Common Name: Phlox family
Scientific Name: Polemonium pulcherrimum Hook.
Common Name: Jacob's ladder
Species Code: POLPUL
Ecotype: Fescue grassland, Rising Sun 1371m elevation.
General Distribution: P. pulcherrinum is a widespread cordilleran species; that occurs from moist to dry habitats; from Alaska south through B.C. to California, and through the Rocky Mountains to Colorado.
Propagation Goal: Plants
Propagation Method: Seed
Product Type: Container (plug)
Stock Type: 172 ml conetainers
Time To Grow: 6 Months
Target Specifications: Stock Type: Container seedling
Height: 6 to 10 true leaves, 5 cm
Caliper: n/a
Root System: Firm plug in container.
Propagule Collection: Seeds are collected in late June/early July when capsules turn brown and begin to dehisce. Seeds are black at maturity. Seeds are collected in paper bags and kept in a well ventilated drying shed prior to cleaning.
Propagule Processing: Seeds are cleaned with a hammermill and 1/16" screen.
Seed longevity is unknown.
Seed dormancy is classified as physiological dormancy.
Seeds/Kg: 704,000/kg
% Purity: 100%
% Germination: 75%
Pre-Planting Treatments: 60 day cold moist stratification in refrigerator at 3 C.
Seeds are placed in fine mesh bags and buried in moist peat moss in ventilated containers.
Growing Area Preparation/
Annual Practices for Perennial Crops:

Greenhouse and outdoor nursery growing facility.
Sowing Method: Direct Seeding. Seeds are covered with media.
Growing media used is 6:1:1 milled sphagnum peat, perlite, and vermiculite with Osmocote controlled release fertilizer (13N:13P2O5:13K2O; 8 to 9 month release rate at 21C) and Micromax fertilizer (12%S, 0.1%B, 0.5%Cu, 12%Fe, 2.5%Mn, 0.05%Mo, 1%Zn) at the rate of 1 gram of Osmocote and 0.20 gram of Micromax per 172 ml conetainer.
Greenhouse temperatures are maintained at 21 to 25C during the day and 16 to 18C at night. Seedlings are hand watered and remain in greenhouse until mid May. Seedlings are then moved to outdoor nursery for the remainder of the growing season.
Seedlings are irrigated with Rainbird automatic irrigation system in early morning until containers are thoroughly leached.
Average growing season of nursery is from late April after snowmelt until October 15th.
Establishment Phase: Seedlings emerge 8 days after sowing. Germination was uniform.
Length of Establishment Phase: 4 weeks
Active Growth Phase: Plants were root tight 12 weeks following germination. Plants did not produce flowers the first year.
Length of Active Growth Phase: 12 weeks
Hardening Phase: Plants are fertilized with 10-20-20 liquid NPK at 200 ppm during August and September. Irrigation is gradually reduced in September and October. Plants were given one final irrigation prior to winterization.
Length of Hardening Phase: 4 weeks
Harvesting, Storage and Shipping: Total Time To Harvest: 6 months
Harvest Date: June
Storage Conditions: Overwinter in outdoor nursery under insulating foam and snow cover.
Length of Storage: 5 months
Outplanting performance on typical sites: Outplanting Site: Rising Sun, Glacier National Park, MT.
Outplanting Date: Spring
Other Comments: P. pulcherrinum has a rhizome-like caudex which surmounts a taproot.
This species colonizes talus and scree slides, and cliffs and road shoulders.
There are 2 botanical varieties: var. pulcherrinum, var. calycinum.
References: Flora of the Pacific Northwest, Hitchcock and Cronquist, Univ. of Washington Press, 7th printing, 1990.

Glacier Park Native Plant Nursery Propagation Records, unpublished.

Seed Germination Theory and Practice, 2nd Edition, Deno, Norman, publ. 1993.

Seeding Rate Statistics for Native and Introduced Species, Hassell, Wendel, National Park Service and National Resources Conservation Service, April 1996.

Luna, Tara; Evans, Jeff.; Wick, Dale. 2002. Propagation protocol for production of container Polemonium pulcherrimum Hook. plants (172 ml conetainers); USDI NPS - Glacier National Park, West Glacier, Montana. In: Native Plant Network. URL: http://www.nativeplantnetwork.org (accessed 4 September 2015). Moscow (ID): University of Idaho, College of Natural Resources, Forest Research Nursery.