Campanula cervicaria (Bristly Bellflower)
|Also known as:||Bristly Bluebells|
|Life cycle:||biennial, short-lived perennial|
|Habitat:||sun; moist to dry meadows, woodland edges|
|Bloom season:||July - August|
|Plant height:||1 to 2 feet|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||none|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Tight clusters at the top of the stem and in upper leaf axils. Flowers are ½ to ¾ inch long, blue to violet, bell-shaped with 5 fused lobes that are oblong with pointed tips. Short erect hairs are scattered along the outside lobe edges and the midvein, The calyx is about ¼ the length of flower tube, fused with 5 blunt lobes and bristly hairs on the outer surface. 5 stamens are retained in the tube with a style, 3-parted at the tip, extending beyond the lobes. Short, broad, leafy bracts with bristly outer surfaces wrap the base of clusters.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are 6 to 8 inches long, basal leaves with winged stalks, the blade narrow lance to spatula shaped, withering away at flowering. Stem leaves are few, alternate, becoming smaller, stalkless and more lance-linear as they ascend the stem. Leaf edges are irregular with rounded teeth and are often wavy.
The lower leaf surface has short, bristly hairs, especially along the edges and midvein; the upper surface hairs are more scattered. Stems are unbranched, with sharp vertical ridges and densely covered in bristly hairs.
Campanula cervicaria is native to Scandinavia and central Europe where it has become vulnerable in parts of its range. Not widely known or purveyed in the horticultural trade, somehow it has made its debut into the wilds of North America in Lake and St. Louis counties of Minnesota, and to-date, no where else. It is notably similar to another European bellflower - C. glomerata, clustered bellflower, that is widely traded and has also naturalized in the Duluth area. Unfortunately, both are likely to spread over time. Clustered bellflower can be distinguished by its broader lance shaped leaves that are clasping on the upper stem. The flowers are also larger, to over 1 inch long, calyx teeth sharply linear and overall, it is much less hairy.
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Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken along Highway 61 in St. Louis County
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?