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Spreading Bellflower

Campanula patula

  • Family: Bellflower Family – Campanulaceae
  • Growing form: Biennial herb. Taproot short, strong.
  • Height: 25–80 cm (10–30 in.). Stem usually branched, edged, slightly hairy, basal part often reddish.
  • Flower: Corolla campanulate (bell-shaped), narrow-based, 5-lobed halfway, fused, erect, 20–25 mm (0.8–1 in.) long, purple or occasionally white. Corolla lobes longer than broad. Calyx fused, 5-lobed, lobes triangular, spreading, sharp-tipped. Stamens 5. Pistil of 3 fused carpels. Inflorescence branching, corymbose.
  • Leaves: Basal leaves short-stalked, elongated oblanceolate, usually withered by flowering time. Stem leaves alternate, stalkless and linear. Blade entire or with shallowly rounded teeth (crenate).
  • Fruit: Strongly veined, erect, capsule opening from tip.
  • Habitat: Meadows, banks, roadsides, fallow fields, waste ground.
  • Flowering time: June–September.

Genus Campanula is comprised of 300–400 species, the vast majority of which grow in the mountains of central and southern Europe and in the Mediterranean countries. The species are usually perennial herbs.

Spreading bellflower grows as a biennial in Finland, growing a leaf rosette and strong taproot during its first growing season and often developing an abuindantly-branched flowering branched stem the following year. Spreading bellflower in Finland is usually easy to differentiate from its relatives by its more reddish and more narrowly based leaves. White-flowered plants can also be found, although they are clearly rarer than the purple ones. In southern and central Europe the species is not so clearly defined because several slightly different forms exist, as happens in Finland with harebell. (C. rotundifolia). Spreading bellflower seems to have arrived in Finland with people a long time ago, as can be seen from the habitats it still grows in, which have been influenced by people in one way or another. Spreading bellflower sometimes grows very abundantly in fallow fields, where its brilliant flower show is often temporary. It grows in many other habitats too, such as meadows and roadsides. It is not very demanding with regards to soil and can get along without much nutrition.

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

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