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bellflower, (genus Campanula), any of around 420 annual, perennial, and biennial herbs that compose the genus Campanula (family Campanulaceae). Bellflowers have characteristically bell-shaped, usually blue flowers, and many are cultivated as garden ornamentals. They are native mainly to northern temperate regions, Mediterranean areas, and tropical mountains.
Throatwort, or bats-in-the-belfry (C. trachelium), a coarse, erect, hairy Eurasian plant also naturalized in North America, bears clusters of lilac-coloured funnel-shaped flowers. Other cultivated Campanula species from Europe include Adria bellflower (C. garganica, sometimes classified as a variety of C. elatines); clustered bellflower (C. glomerata); milky bellflower (C. lactiflora); great bellflower (C. latifolia); and C. zoysii. See also harebell. Self-seeding, it is either annual or biennial by habit, seemingly depending on when germination occurs. First-year plants are tight rosettes of heart-shaped leaves that shoot up the following spring to form tall stems. Because Campanula americana is the only bellflower with wide-spread petals, a petal tube that elongates with age and stamens that extend over the petals, it often is assigned the special designation Campanulastrum americanum.
A Prairie Moon • October 13 Here is a good hand-out from the University of Wisconsin Master Gardener's program: Creeping Bellflower Comparing the seedling photos from our website to the handout, you can learn to tell the difference, but there may be a slight learning curve. If you are familiar with one, you should be able to pick out the differences on the new one, especially in person. Once they are in their flowering year, it becomes much easier to distinguish the two. Campanulas belong to the bellflower family and are herbaceous perennials with bell shaped, usually nodding, blue or purple flowers. They range in growth habit from 6-foot-tall upright growers such as our native tall bellflower to prostrate creepers. As a rock garden fan, I’ve mainly tried to grow the small creeping types such as C. poscharskyana (Serbian Bellflower), C. portenschlagiana (Dalmatian Bellflower), and C. carpatica (Carpathian Bellflower). (Source: www.uaex.uada.edu)