Polemonium reptans is a perennial herbaceous plant native to eastern North America. Common names include spreading Jacob's ladder, creeping Jacob's ladder, false Jacob's ladder, abscess root, American Greek valerian, blue bells, stairway to heaven, and sweatroot. Jacob's ladder grows 50 centimetres (20 in) tall, with pinnate leaves up to 20 centimetres (8 in) long with 5–13 leaflets. The leaves and flower stems grow from a vertical crown with abundant fibrous roots. The flowers are produced in panicles on weak stems from mid to late spring.
The dried roots have a slightly bitter and acrid taste. P. reptans has been traditionally used as an herbal medicine for febrile and inflammatory diseases, to ease coughs, colds and bronchial complaints, and to encourage perspiration.