Campanula rapunculoides (Creeping Bellflower)
|Also known as:||Rampion Bellflower, European Bellflower|
|Habitat:||shade, sun; deciduous woods, fields, along roads, disturbed areas|
|Bloom season:||June - October|
|Plant height:||1 to 3 feet|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||none|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Flowers are arranged in a long raceme along one side of the stem at the top of the plant. Individual flowers average about 1 inch long, nod slightly, and are bell-shaped with 5 pointed lobes that may have sparsely hairy edges. Inside the bell are 5 curly yellow stamens and a protruding style with a divided, curled tip. Flower color is blue to blue-violet to purple. The green calyx at the base of the flower has 5 narrow pointed lobes that fold back away from the flower. The raceme can grow to more than half the length of the plant.
Leaves are basal and alternate, the basal and lower stem leaves heart-shaped, up to 4 inches long, to 2 inches wide, on stalks up to 6 inches long. Leaves become smaller, less heart-shaped, and shorter stalked as they ascend the stem with the uppermost leaves stalkless or nearly so. All are coarsely toothed, pointed at the tip and rough textured. The stem is green to purple and rough from stiff hairs. Plants grow erect or leaning.
Creeping Bellflower, a European import popular in the garden industry, readily escapes cultivation and can quickly become invasive, spreading both from seed (up to 15,000 per plant!) as well as its root system. It is a miserable plant and very difficult to eradicate once established.
All of the resources describing control measures say pretty much the same thing:
- herbicides containing glyphosate (i.e. RoundUp) or dicamba are recommended, but none are 100% effective; repeat applications will be necessary
- burning may kill seedlings; prescribed burning or repeated mowing may weaken but will not kill more mature plants
- digging down at least 6 inches, getting the all the tubers, rhizomes and roots out may be your only hope; any missed roots will resprout
- do not compost plant material if flowers or fruits are present; burn it or bag and put in the trash (label bag as invasive species if necessary)
Creeping Bellflower has been mistaken for Harebell (Campanula rotundifolia) or a native Bluebells (Mertensia species). Wishful thinking. The leaf shape is different for all 3; Harebell is also a very spindly, delicate plant and Bluebells have more trumpet-shaped flowers in tighter clusters dangling at branch tips.
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Where to buy native seed and plants ↓
- Creeping Bellflower plants
- Creeping Bellflower plants
- plants growing on a slope
- plants establishing at a public water access
- seedlings coming up in a lawn
- basal leaves are long-stalked
- more stem leaves
- close up of flowers
Photos by K. Chayka taken in Ramsey County. Photos by Steven Miles taken in Hennepin County. Developing fruit photo by Matt Lavin, via Wikimedia Commons, used under CC BY-SA 2.0. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?