Tall Fringed Bluebells
The Tall Fringed Bluebell has tubular flowers with a cylindrical lower part and a more open upper section, with five lobes. Buds are pinkish purple, but the flowers gradually turn blue when opening, starting at the top, then become pinkish once more as they start to wither. The stalk is stout and thick, and has lengthwise grooves. The large, bluish-green leaves have a slightly rough surface and tiny whitish projections along the edges, hence the species name ciliata. Flowers are supported by a ring of pointed, greenish-purple bracts.
Identifying features other than the flowers are the way the leaves form off of the main stem. The upper portion of the stem has its leaves growing straight from the stem, with no stalk or petiole. A secondary stalk protrudes next to this leaf and is followed by its flowers. The leaves forming on the lower portion of the main stem have a short stalk before it sprouts into a leaf.
The flowers of mountain bluebells are edible raw. The leaves are edible raw or cooked. Both flower and leaf have a mild sweet flavor and are one of my favorite to eat.
The plant increases the flow of a mothers milk, and a tea of the plant was used by the Cheyenne Indians for this purpose. They also made a tea of the powdered root and used it to relieve the itching caused by smallpox and measles.