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Campanula rotundifolia

Bluebell Bellflower, Bluebell of Scotland, Bluebell, Harebell, Witches’ Thimble


Slender stems support delicate bell-shaped, blue-lavender flowers, which open from bulb-shaped buds. It makes sense then that its name derives from the Latin Campana, which means little bell. Other Campanulaceae family members include Campanula Portenschlagiana, the Dalmation bellflower, and Canarina, the bellflowers found in Africa and the Canary Islands.

One of Campanula rotundifolia’s old names, witches’ thimble, came from Scotland. Another common name, harebell, may allude to an association with witches as well. Some people believed that witches could turn themselves into hares, and a hare crossing one’s path was considered a portent of bad luck.

The bellflower blooms in summer (June, July, August, September, depending on location). Despite its delicate appearance, the bellflower is quite hardy. It grows in a variety of habitats, ranging from mountain slopes to beaches, with prairies, open woods, meadows, rocky areas and even limey cliffs in between. It grows in sun, part sun and shade. And, one of the best things about it, perhaps, is that hummingbirds like it.


(Information and photo sources: Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center; Terry Glase photographer;;  )

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