Campanula rotundifolia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Campanula rotundifolia
Campanula rotondifolia.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Campanulaceae
Genus: Campanula
C. rotundifolia
Binomial name
Campanula rotundifolia
  • Campanula allophylla Raf. ex A.DC.
  • Campanula angustifolia Lam.
  • Campanula antirrhina Schleich.
  • Campanula asturica Podlech
  • Campanula bielzii Schur
  • Campanula bocconei Vill.
  • Campanula caballeroi Sennen & Losa
  • Campanula chinganensis A.I.Baranov
  • Campanula confertifolia (Reut.) Witasek
  • Campanula decloetiana Ortmann
  • Campanula heterodoxa Vest ex Schult.
  • Campanula hostii Baumg.
  • Campanula inconcessa Schott, Nyman & Kotschy
  • Campanula juncea Hill
  • Campanula lanceolata Lapeyr.
  • Campanula langsdorffiana (A. DC.) Trautv.
  • Campanula legionensis Pau
  • Campanula lobata Schloss. & Vuk.
  • Campanula lostrittii Ten.
  • Campanula minor Lam.
  • Campanula minuta Savi
  • Campanula pennina Reut.
  • Campanula pinifolia Uechtr. ex Pancic
  • Campanula pseudovaldensis Schur
  • Campanula solstitialis A.Kern.
  • Campanula tenuifolia Hoffm.
  • Campanula tenuifolia Mart.
  • Campanula tracheliifolia Losa ex Sennen
  • Campanula urbionensis Rivas Mart. & G.Navarro
  • Campanula wiedmannii Podlech
  • Depierrea campanuloides Schltdl.

Campanula rotundifolia, the harebell, Scottish bluebell, or bluebell of Scotland, is a species of flowering plant in the bellflower family Campanulaceae.[2] This herbaceous perennial is found throughout the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. In Scotland, it is often known simply as bluebell. It is the floral emblem of Sweden where it is known as small bluebell.[3] It produces its violet-blue, bell-shaped flowers in late summer and autumn.

The Latin specific epithet rotundifolia means "round leaved".[4] However, not all leaves are round in shape. Middle stem-leaves are linear.[5]: 707 


Campanula rotundifolia is a slender, prostrate to erect herbaceous perennial, spreading by seed and rhizomes. The basal leaves are long-stalked, rounded to heart-shaped, usually slightly toothed, with prominent hydathodes, and often wither early. Leaves on the flowering stems are long and narrow and the upper ones are unstemmed.[6] The inflorescence is a panicle or raceme, with 1 to many flowers borne on very slender pedicels. The flowers usually have five (occasionally 4, 6 or 7) pale to mid violet-blue petals fused together into a bell shape, about 12–30 mm (15321+316 in) long and five long, pointed green sepals behind them. Plants with pale pink or white flowers may also occur.[6] The petal lobes are triangular and curve outwards. The seeds are produced in a capsule about 3–4 mm (18532 in) diameter and are released by pores at the base of the capsule. Seedlings are minute, but established plants can compete with tall grass. As with many other Campanula species, all parts of the plant exude white latex when injured or broken.

The flowering period is long and varies by location. In the British Isles, harebell flowers from July to November.[6][7]: 250 [8] In Missouri, it flowers from May to August;[9] in Minnesota, from June to October.[10] The flowers are pollinated by bees, but can self-pollinate.


Campanula rotundifolia was first formally described in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus. As of November 2019, no varieties or subspecies of Campanula rotundifolia are accepted in Plants of the World Online.[11] Several species have been previously described as varieties or subspecies of C. rotundifolia:

While it is now commonly known as harebell or bluebell, it was historically known by several other names including blawort, hair-bell, lady's thimble, witch's bells, and witch's thimbles.[12][13]

Elsewhere in Britain, "bluebell" refers to Hyacinthoides non-scripta, and in North America, "bluebell" typically refers to species in the genus Mertensia, such as Mertensia virginica (Virginia bluebells).

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Campanula rotundifolia occurs from Spitzbergen,[6] extending in mainland Europe from northernmost Scandinavia to the Pyrenees and the French Mediterranean coast.[14] It also occurs on the southern coasts of Greenland, on Iceland and on southern Novaya Zemlya.[14] It is not found in Canada[2] (see other Campanula species, such as Campanula alaskana).[15]

It occurs as tetraploid or hexaploid populations in Britain and Ireland, but diploids occur widely in continental Europe.[16] In Britain, the tetraploid population has an easterly distribution and the hexaploid population a westerly distribution, and very little mixing occurs at the range boundaries.[6]

Harebells grow in dry, nutrient-poor grasslands and heaths. The plant often successfully colonises cracks in walls or cliff faces and stable dunes.[6]

C. rotundifolia is more inclined to occupy climates that have an average temperature below 0 °C in the cold months and above 10 °C in the summer.[17]

In Iceland, research on Campanula rotundifolia has revealed that it is a host of at least three species of pathogenic fungi, Coleosporium tussilaginis, Puccinia campanulae and Sporonema campanulae (and the teleomorph Leptotrochila radians).[18]

In culture[edit]

The harebell is dedicated to Saint Dominic.[citation needed]

In 2002 Plantlife named it the county flower of Yorkshire in the United Kingdom.[19]

William Shakespeare makes a reference to 'the azured hare-bell' in Cymbeline:

With fairest flowers,
Whilst summer lasts, and I live here, Fidele,
I'll sweeten thy sad grave: thou shalt not lack
The flower that's like thy face, pale primrose, nor
The azured hare-bell, like thy veins; no, nor
The leaf of eglantine, whom not to slander,
Out-sweeten’d not thy breath.[20][note 1]

Christina Rossetti (1830–1894) wrote a poem entitled 'Hope is Like A Harebell':

Hope is like a harebell, trembling from its birth,
Love is like a rose, the joy of all the earth,
Faith is like a lily, lifted high and white,
Love is like a lovely rose, the world’s delight.
Harebells and sweet lilies show a thornless growth,
But the rose with all its thorns excels them both.[21]

Emily Dickinson uses the harebell as an analogy for desire that grows cold once that which is cherished is attained:

Did the Harebell loose her girdle
To the lover Bee
Would the Bee the Harebell hallow
Much as formerly?
Did the paradise – persuaded
Yield her moat of pearl
Would the Eden be an Eden
Or the Earl – an Earl[22]


  1. ^ In Jessica Kerr's and Opelia Dowden's Shakespeare's Flowers published in 1970 they infer that Shakespeare was actually making reference to Hyacinthoides non-scripta.


  1. ^ "Campanula rotundifolia". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew – via The Plant List.
  2. ^ a b Brouillet L, Desmet P, Coursol F, Meades SJ, Favreau M, Anions M, Bélisle P, Gendreau C, Shorthouse D, and contributors (2010+). "Campanula rotundifolia Linnaeus". Database of Vascular Plants of Canada (VASCAN). Retrieved 21 November 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  3. ^ "Sveriges nationalblomma". 13 March 2021.
  4. ^ Harrison, Lorraine (2012). RHS Latin for Gardeners. United Kingdom: Mitchell Beazley. ISBN 978-1845337315.
  5. ^ Stace, C. A. (2019). New Flora of the British Isles (Fourth ed.). Middlewood Green, Suffolk, U.K.: C & M Floristics. ISBN 978-1-5272-2630-2.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Stevens, C.J.; Wilson, J; McAllister, H.A. (2012). "Biological Flora of the British Isles: Campanula rotundifolia". Journal of Ecology. 100 (3): 821–839. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2745.2012.01963.x.
  7. ^ Blamey, M.; Fitter, R.; Fitter, A (2003). Wild flowers of Britain and Ireland: The Complete Guide to the British and Irish Flora. London: A & C Black. ISBN 978-1408179505.
  8. ^ Jeffree, E.P. (1960). "Some long-term means from the Phenological reports (1891–1948) of the Royal Meteorological Society". Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society. 86 (367): 95–103. Bibcode:1960QJRMS..86...95J. doi:10.1002/qj.49708636710.
  9. ^ Tenaglia, Dan. "Campanula rotundifolia page". Missouri Plants. Missouri Botanical Garden.
  10. ^ Chayka, Katy; Dziuk, Peter (2016). "Campanula rotundifolia (Harebell)". Minnesota Wildflowers. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  11. ^ "Plants of the World Online". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanical Gardens Kew. Retrieved 21 November 2019.
  12. ^ Miller, W. (1884), A Dictionary of English Names of Plants: Applied in England and Among English-speaking People to Cultivated and Wild Plants, Trees, and Shrubs, J. Murray
  13. ^ Quattrocchi, U. (2012), CRC World Dictionary of Medicinal and Poisonous Plants: Common Names, Scientific Names, Eponyms, Synonyms, and Etymology (5 Volume Set), Taylor & Francis, ISBN 9781420080445
  14. ^ a b Anderberg, Arne. "Den Virtuella Floran, Campanula rotundifolia L." Naturhistoriska riksmuseet, Stockholm, Sweden.
  15. ^ Brouillet L, Desmet P, Coursol F, Meades SJ, Favreau M, Anions M, Bélisle P, Gendreau C, Shorthouse D, and contributors (2010+). "Campanula Linnaeus". Database of Vascular Plants of Canada (VASCAN). Retrieved 16 May 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  16. ^ McAllister, H.A. 1973. The experimental taxonomy of Campanula rotundifolia L. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Glasgow
  17. ^ Shetler SG. 1982 Variation and evolution of Nearctic harebells (Campanula subsect. Heterophylla). Phan. Monogr. 11. 1-516 (1982)- En Abstr. in Excerpta Bot., A, 39(1): p.20 (1982).
  18. ^ Helgi Hallgrímsson & Guðríður Gyða Eyjólfsdóttir (2004). Íslenskt sveppatal I - smásveppir [Checklist of Icelandic Fungi I - Microfungi. Fjölrit Náttúrufræðistofnunar. Náttúrufræðistofnun Íslands [Icelandic Institute of Natural History]. ISSN 1027-832X
  19. ^ Plantlife website County Flowers page Archived 2015-04-30 at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ William Shakespeare, Cymbeline (iv. 2), Arviragus speech
  21. ^ Christina G Rossetti, A Nursery Rhyme Book, Macmillan and Co., London, New York (1893)
  22. ^ Emily Dickinson, Did the Harebell loose her girdle, Volume: Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, first published in 1955