© Copyright: Images: Jouko Lehmuskallio.
All rights reserved.

Nettle-leaved Bellflower

Campanula trachelium

  • Name also: Bats-in-the-Belfry, Bats in the belfry (USA)
  • Family: Bellflower Family – Campanulaceae
  • Growing form: Perennial herb. Rootstock short.
  • Height: 40–100 cm (16–40 in.). Stem unbranched, sharp-edged, rough-haired, often reddish.
  • Flower: Corolla campanulate (bell-shaped), 5-lobed, inside hairy, initially erect, eventually slightly nodding, 25–45 mm (1–1.8 in.) long, fused, purple or sometimes white. Calyx fused, 5-lobed, lobes ovately triangular, erect, hairy. Stamens 5. Pistil of 3 fused carpels. Inflorescence often an intermittent raceme with flowers terminating branches in groups of 1–4.
  • Leaves: Alternate. Basal leaves and lowest stem leaves long-stalked, cordate–ovate. Leaf-stalk narrowly winged at base. Upper leaves stalkless, ovate–ovately lanceolate. Blade double-toothed, rough-haired.
  • Fruit: Quite round, hairy, nodding, capsule opening from base.
  • Habitat: Broad-leaved forests, broadleaf hedgerows, forest margins, coppices. Also an ornamental.
  • Flowering time: July–August.

Genus Campanula takes its name from Latin and means “small bell”. In Finland the large-flowered species tend to be named after large animals, and small-flowered species after small ones. The plant’s English name nettle-leaved bellflower is very descriptive as its cordate or ovate, doubly serrated leaves are very like nettle’s. It often grows in shady places and blooms from a small stem, so stands can be mistaken for nettle patches.

Nettle-leaved bellflower is a demanding plant that is native to the Åland Islands and the south-western archipelago’s calciferous hazel woods and hazel-dominated mixed forest. It also grows on the western and northern shores of Lake Ladoga close to the current south-eastern border, so there could easily be stands in eastern Finland that have not been discovered yet. The species demands a lot of nutritious humus-rich soil to thrive. Nettle-leaved bellflower is also sometimes grown as an ornamental, and at least some of the stands were originally cultivated.

Another bellflower that also thrives in semi-shade and rich soil is the large and handsome giant bellflower (C. latifolia). The species was brought to Finland from the south as an ornamental but it often escapes from the garden. It can be differentiated from nettle-leaved bellflower by its round stem and its calyx lobes.

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

Follow us!

Identify species!

Sivun alkuun / Top of the page