Jacob's-ladder is a rare, native perennial of the White Peak where it can be one of the most characteristics and showy plants of our dale-sides. It grows naturally here in a range of habitats including grassland, light woods, screes, rock ledges and streamsides. Typical dale sites include: Lathkill (SK1665), Wolfescote (SK1456), Taddington (SK1671) and Wye Dale (SK1473). Owing to its attractive blue flowers, it has been much planted in gardens from where it has established itself in other parts of the county. Pollen evidence from peat bogs indicates that it was widespread throughout Britain just after the last ice-age. However as a native it is now restricted to Derbyshire's White Peak and the Yorkshire Dales. Nationally it is categorised as Near Threatened. It appeared on the cover of the last Flora of Derbyshire (Clapham 1969), and a plant collected from Bentley Brook was illustrated in the Concise British Flora in Colour (Keble Martin 1965). In 2004 it was voted as Derbyshire's "county plant" in a nationwide survey run by Plantlife.
This plant is in Category 2 of the local Red Data List, 2009.
Jacob’s Ladder was recently voted the "county flower of Derbyshire". Here it is in a native setting at Lathkilldale SK1665, but it also occurs as an escapee from gardens in other parts of the county. (Photographed 03/08/2004)