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Campanula rotundifolia (Bluebell bellflower)
Glase, Terry

Campanula rotundifolia

Campanula rotundifolia L.

Bluebell Bellflower, Bluebell Of Scotland, Bluebell, Harebell, Witches' Thimble

Campanulaceae (Bellflower Family)

Synonym(s): Campanula alaskana, Campanula dubia, Campanula gieseckiana, Campanula gieseckiana ssp. groenlandica, Campanula gieseckiana var. arctica, Campanula groenlandica, Campanula heterodoxa, Campanula intercedens, Campanula petiolata, Campanula rotundifolia ssp. groenlandica, Campanula rotundifolia ssp. intercedens, Campanula rotundifolia var. alaskana, Campanula rotundifolia var. alpina, Campanula rotundifolia var. arctica, Campanula rotundifolia var. intercedens, Campanula rotundifolia var. lancifolia, Campanula rotundifolia var. petiolata, Campanula rotundifolia var. velutina, Campanula sacajaweana

USDA Symbol: CARO2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N), GL (N), SPM (N)

A delicate perennial with graceful, slender stems, usually in clusters, rising in height from 4-15 in. The stems can be weak so that the entire plant bends over. Its rounded, basal leaves wither early while the narrow, stem leaves remain. Blue-violet bell-shaped flowers hang singly or in clusters along the top parts of nodding, thread-like, mostly unbranched stems that grow in small patches. The nodding, bell-shaped, lavender flowers are borne in loose clusters at stem tips.

The genus name, from the Latin campana ("bell"), means "little bell." The name Harebell may allude to an association with witches, who were believed able to transform themselves into hares, portents of bad luck when they crossed a person's path. In Scotland, another old name for this plant was Witches' Thimble. The characteristics of this perennial vary considerably, depending on habitat conditions. Among other common species are the Southern Harebell (C. divaricata), with wider leaves and smaller, white or pale lavender flowers, typical of wet, grassy meadows. The common garden Bellflower (C. rapunculoides), which is native to western Eurasia and frequently escapes from cultivation, has flowers usually borne on one side of the stems and lanceolate or heart-shaped leaves.


From the Image Gallery

48 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 15 inches tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Blue , Purple
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep


USA: AK , AZ , CA , CO , CT , IA , ID , IL , IN , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MT , NC , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NY , OH , OR , PA , SD , TN , TX , UT , VA , VT , WA , WI , WV , WY
Canada: AB , BC , MB , NB , NL , NS , ON , QC , SK
Native Distribution: Temperate Eurasia and North America, from Europe east to Siberia and Canada, s. to MD, n. IN, n.e. IA, NE & n. CA; also s. in mts. to TX & northeastern Mex.
Native Habitat: Moist, rocky, mt. slopes; dry meadows & prairies; open woods; limey cliffs; beaches

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Sandy, well-drained soils.
Conditions Comments: Harebell is easily cultured and does well in a variety of sites including rock gardens. Flowers are long lasting.


Use Wildlife: Hummingbirds
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Hummingbirds


Description: For best results, seeds should be sown inside and not covered after sowing. They should be bottom-watered. These seedlings will germinate quickly but will not flower until the second year. Root cuttings or stem cuttings stuck in damp sand are other propagation methods useful for this species.
Seed Collection: Approximate collection date in northern U.S.: late Jul. through mid Sep.
Seed Treatment: No treatment. Seeds may need light for good germination.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Native flowers for Door County, Wisconsin
September 02, 2009
We recently were required to put in a new septic system on our vacation property in Door County, WI. This left us with a clearing on our wooded lot where the septic field is now located. The installer...
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Native plants of dune erosion control in Michigan
May 30, 2008
We care for Lake Michigan dune near our home in New Buffalo and would like to provide erosion control with native species that will also enhance the beauty of the dune with long lasting flowers. The ...
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Identification of plant with bell-shaped flowers
January 03, 2008
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I am in need of a plant name to purchase. It is absolutely beautiful. The plant has light green leaves, the flowers that bloom look like bells (of course they hang upside down...
view the full question and answer

Native wildflowers for Northern Indiana
May 08, 2007
I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on Saturday April 21. What a beautiful place. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit. I was wondering how I could find out w...
view the full question and answer

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1989 VOL. 6, NO.3 - Butterfly Gardens, Director\'s Report, Proper Care Gives Staying Power to Cut Fl...

Additional resources

USDA: Find Campanula rotundifolia in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Campanula rotundifolia in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Campanula rotundifolia


Record Modified: 2015-12-14
Research By: TWC Staff

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