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Creeping Bellflower

Campanula rapunculoides

  • Name also: Rampion Bellflower (USA, Canada)
  • Family: Bellflower Family – Campanulaceae
  • Growing form: Perennial herb. Rootstock creeping, branching, tuberous.
  • Height: 20–90 cm (8–35 in.). Stem usually unbranched, round–blunt-edged, glabrous–stiff-haired.
  • Flower: Corolla campanulate (bell-shaped), 5-lobed, with hairy edge, nodding, 20–30 mm (0.8–1.2 in.) long, fused, purple. Calyx fused, 5-lobed, lobes narrowly triangular, recurved. Stamens 5. Pistil of 3 fused carpels. Inflorescence an abundantly-flowered, one-sided terminal raceme with subtending bracts.
  • Leaves: Alternate. Basal leaves long-stalked, upper stalkless. Stalk narrowly winged at most. Blade narrowly cordate–ovate–lanceolate, with irregular shallow, blunt teeth.
  • Fruit: Semi-spherical, with spreading hairs, brown, nodding, capsule opening from base.
  • Habitat: Parks, gardens, roadsides, waste ground, field and forest margins, broad-leaved forests. Also an ornamental.
  • Flowering time: July–September.

Creeping bellflower can be quite easily differentiated from other bellflowers by its long, one-sided, nodding-flowered inflorescence. Like many of its relatives it has been named after an animal in Finnish, in this case “goat’s bellflower”. The general formula is that large-flowered species are named after large animals, and vice versa.

Creeping bellflower is native to rocky forest margins and hedgerows in south-east Europe and Asia Minor, but it has spread with people and made itself at home in most of Europe. Creeping bellflower is one of the few useful plants in its genus: its swollen tuberous rootstock is edible and tastes similar to parsnip. The plant’s young leaves were also eaten in salads in the past in the Nordic countries. Creeping bellflower is a traditional perennial that is easy to care for. Those who love order in their garden can see the plant as a nuisance weed which slowly spreads via its creeping rootstock. Creeping bellflower spreads easily from seed too and often finds new habitats by being mixed in with hayseed and when earth and soil are moved. It has settled into the wild in Finland e.g. beside roads, on waste ground and in leafy forests.

Other species from the same genus
Other species from the same family

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