|Plant of Phyteuma orbiculare|
Phyteuma orbiculare reaches on average 20–50 centimetres (7.9–19.7 in) of height. A deep blue, almost purple wildflower that is not as it seems: each head, rather than being a single bloom, is actually a collection of smaller ones, huddled together. Close up it looks rather like a sea anemone about to curl around an unlucky fly.
The stem is erect, simple, glabrous and striated, the leaves vary in shape on a single plant, with larger, broader, ovate to lanceolate, serrated, petiolated leaves at the base of the stem and smaller, narrower, lanceolate to linear cauline leaves. The head-shaped inflorescence is a dense erect panicle of about 1.5–3 centimetres (0.59–1.18 in) of diameter, with usually 15 to 30 flowers. The petals are blue or violet-blue and form small tubes with an opening at the top. The outer bracts are lanceolate and usually two to four times longer than wide. The flowering period extends from May to August. The fruit is a capsule containing numerous small seeds.
This plant is widespread in most of Europe from the Pyrenees to the Balkans. The plant can be found at low altitudes in Western Europe and in mountains of Central Europe. In the United Kingdom, the plant is more common on the South Downs than anywhere else.
This species grows mainly in grasslands, meadows, pasturelands and pine forests. It prefers full sun exposure on calcareous soils, at an altitude of 600–2,400 metres (2,000–7,900 ft) above sea level. In the UK, its habitat is chalk grassland.
- Phyteuma orbiculare subsp. flexuosum R. Schulz
- Phyteuma orbiculare subsp. montanum R. Schultz
- Phyteuma orbiculare subsp. orbiculare
The round-headed rampion is known colloquially in the county of Sussex, England as the Pride of Sussex. It is also the County flower of Sussex. As Sussex's county flower, it has given its name to the Rampion Wind Farm, a proposed wind farm off the coast of Sussex.
- "Round-headed rampion". Plant Life. Retrieved 4 February 2013.
- "Five Fascinating Facts about . . . Ditchling Beacon". Sussex Wildlife Trust. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
- "Phyteuma orbiculare (Round-headed Rampion) - Summary". Online Atlas of the British and Irish Flora.
- Plantlife website County Flowers page
- "Rampion Offshore Wind Farm Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), February 2012" (PDF). E.ON. Retrieved 30 March 2012.
- Pignatti S. - Flora d'Italia – Edagricole – 1982, Vol. II, pag. 703
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