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Harebell

Campanula rotundifolia

  • Name also: Bluebell, Scottish Harebell, Common Harebell, Bluebells of Scotland, Bluebells-of-Scotland, Bluebell Bellflower
  • Family: Bellflower Family – Campanulaceae
  • Growing form: Perennial herb. Rootstock thin, pale, woody. With short runners.
  • Height: 10–60 cm (4–25 in.). Many-stemmed. Stem delicate, often ascending from base, round, basal half short-haired and often reddish.
  • Flower: Corolla campanulate (bell-shaped), 5-lobed, initially erect, later nodding, fused, 14–20 mm (0.56–0.8 in.) long, blue, pale blue or occasionally white. Lobes shorter than broad. Calyx fused, 5-lobed, lobes narrow, usually recurved, glabrous. Stamens 5. Pistil of 3 fused carpels. Inflorescence corymbose, sometimes flower solitary.
  • Leaves: Basal leaves long-stalked, kidney-shaped–cordate, with rounded teeth (crenate)–large-toothed, usually withered by flowering time. Stem leaves alternate, short-stalked, uppermost stalkless, almost linear, entire margins.
  • Fruit: Quite round, slightly longer than broad, glabrous, strongly veined, nodding, capsule opening from base.
  • Habitat: Meadows, grazing land, waste ground, roadsides, banks, rocky outcrops, ridges, light-filled forests, stream banks, fell heaths. Ssp. groenlandica is a calciphile.
  • Flowering time: June–September.
  • Endangerment: Ssp. gieseckiana is near threatened.

Genus Campanula is comprised of 300–400 species. Harebell is probably the best known of the dozen species that grow in Finland. It goes by many names in Finland, where the campanulate flower has been seen as a bell or a hat and dedicated to e.g. cats, magpies dogs, cranes, sheep, cows, swallows, reindeer and crows. Harebell has earned its nicknames on account of its beauty and the way that it is common across a wide area.

Harebell differs from its close neighbours with regards to its leaves: its basal leaves are round (rotundifolia, ‘round-leaved’) and its stem leaves are linear.

Although harebell is easy to recognize, it has specialised in Finland too into at least five different subspecies, which can be differentiated from each other mainly according to size, habitat, amount of flowers and how branched the inflorescence is. The easiest to recognize of Finland’s northernmost harebells has only one flower: ssp. groenlandica grows in the north-western “arm” of Finland while ssp. gieseckiana grows in Inari Lapland. The most common subspecies is ssp. rotundifolia, which arrived with people and grows in meadows and banks. Like other genus Campanula plants, white-flowered varieties of harebell also exist. Harebell is the official provincial flower of Central Ostrobothnia.

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

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