Stairway to Heaven

Jacob's Ladder

Denomination: 'Stairway to Heaven'
Botanical Name: Polemonium reptans
Applicant/Holder: Sunny Border Nurseries Inc.
1709 Kensington Road
P.O. Box 483
Kensington, Connecticut
United States of America
Breeder: William Cullina, New England Wildflower Society, Framingham, United States of America
Agent in Canada: Variety Rights Management
475 County Road 18
R.R. #2
Oxford Station, Ontario
K0G 1T0
Tel: 613-258-9015
Application Date: 2004-09-23
Application Number: 04-4422
Grant of Rights Date: 2008-01-25
Certificate Number: 3113
Date rights revoked: 2009-06-02

Variety Description

Variety used for comparison: Polemonium reptans

Summary: 'Stairway to Heaven' has a variegated leaf while the species Polemonium reptans does not. The flower of 'Stairway to Heaven' is a lighter blue than the species Polemonium reptans.


PLANT: vegetatively propagated perennial, upright-bushy growth habit, weak degree of branching

STEM: dark green, weak anthocyanin colouration, absent or very weak glaucosity, absent or very weak pubescence, thin, striate shaped

LEAF: rosette basal arrangement, pinnately compound, elliptic to lanceolate in shape, acute apex, obtuse base, entire margin, absent or very weak pubescence on upper and lower side, absent or very weak glaucosity on the upper side, medium green on upper side, light green on lower side, small to medium amount of light yellow orange to light yellow brown (RHS 11D/158B) variegation present around the margin, petiole present

INFLORESCENCE: flowers once early in the season for a short amount of time, corymb type, flowers positioned terminally
FLOWER: erect and drooping attitude
PETALS: touching to overlapping, very few, ovate shape, acute apex, absent to very sparse pubescence on the upper side, upper side light blue (RHS 101D/106D), lower side light blue (RHS 106D)

Origin & Breeding History: 'Stairway to Heaven' originated as a chance seedling in a batch of seed collected from an unnamed stock of Polemonium reptans var. reptans under cultivation in the collection of the New England Wild Flower Society Native Plant Nurseries in 1998. The seedling was selected in 1999 and is thought to be a naturally occurring sport or mutation of the species Polemonium reptans. The initial selection criteria was for foliage colour, and then ease of vegetative propagation.

Tests & Trials: Trials were conducted in the spring/summer of 2006 in Oxford Station, Ontario. Trials consisted of 10 plants of each variety individually grown in 15cm pots in a polyhouse. Plants were spaced 35cm apart. Observations and measurements were made on 10 plants of each variety.

Comparison table for 'Stairway to Heaven' with reference variety Polemonium reptans

Flower petal colour (RHS)

  'Stairway to Heaven' Polemonium reptans
upper side 101D/106D 106A/107C
lower side 106D 106B

Click on image for larger view
Stairway to Heaven
Jacob's Ladder: 'Stairway to Heaven' (left) with reference variety, the species form of Polemonium reptans (right)

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