Collected on March 31, 1983, this specimen was found by Fred Utech and Masashi Ohara in Cullman County, Alabama. Fred was a curator of botany at the museum and studied the biology and evolutionary relationships among understory species of eastern
United States and east Asia. Native to forest understories across the eastern United States, Virginia bluebells (Mertensia
virginica) are aptly named for their bell-shaped, blue flowers, although it is not just found in Virginia. It is a spring ephemeral species, meaning it emerges with beautiful blooms early in the spring during the short window before trees leaf out, and it disappears underground before summer. Fortunately, you can see this and other spring ephemerals any time of year at the museum in the Hall of Botany!
Botanists at Carnegie Museum of Natural History share pieces of the herbarium’s historical hidden collection on the dates they were discovered or collected. Check back for more!