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Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

This perennial species is one of the last flowers of the year (5); the flowers are present from June to October (6). It has thickened, branching, creeping storage stems known as 'rhizomes'; roots grow from the underside of the rhizome, and during the growing season new growth sprouts from buds along the top (5).
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Description

The harebell, often known as 'bluebell' in Scotland, is a delicate, beautiful wildflower (4). It is a member of the bluebell family; the name of the genus Campanula derives from the Latin for 'bell', and refers to the shape of the flowers (4). The blue, or rarely white, nodding flowers are papery thin (5), and occur either solitarily or in loose spikes (6). The stems are creeping at the base, with round leaves, hence the specific name rotundifolia, which means 'round-leaved' (4); in contrast, the leaves on the erect part of the stem are long and narrow (2).
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Comprehensive Description

Comments

This is a charming little plant. Harebell is distributed in both the Old World and New World, and may be variable across its large range. The native Campanula aparinoides (Marsh Bellflower) has smaller flowers and is found in wetland areas. Sometimes non-native bellflowers escape into the wild, such as Campanula rapunculoides (Creeping Bellflower), but they have broader foliage and larger flowers. Return
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Description

This perennial plant is about ½–1½' and unbranched, except for some upper side stems near the inflorescence. Often, several stems will emerge from the same rootstock; they remain reasonably erect. The basal leaves have long petioles, and are about 1" across. They are usually cordate or orbicular and their margins are bluntly dentate. The basal leaves often wither away by flowering time. Along the slender central stem are alternate leaves. These leaves are linear and about ½–2" long. They usually angle upward from the stem, and then curve outward. Usually the foliage and stems are without hairs, although sometimes they are slightly pubescent.  The central stem (and some of the side stems) terminates in either a solitary flower, or a short raceme of 2-3 flowers. These flowers are violet and bell-shaped. A typical flower is about ¾" long, and tends to hang toward from a slender pedicel. The corolla has 5 short lobes that curve outward. The interior of a flower is white or pale violet near the base, while a long violet style projects slightly beyond the outer rim of the corolla. This style terminates into a tripartite white stigma. The green calyx divides into 5 slender segments that are slightly recurved. The blooming period occurs from early to late summer, and lasts about 2-3 months. There is no noticeable floral scent. The flowers are replaced by ovoid capsules that contain numerous tiny seeds. These seeds are easily dispersed by gusts of wind. The root system consists of a taproot.
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Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Range

Found throughout Britain, but is scarce in southwest England (3). Outside of Britain it is known in north temperate areas, including North America and Eurasia, reaching as far north as 70°N (2).
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Physical Description

Type Information

Isosyntype for Campanula rotundifolia var. alaskana A. Gray
Catalog Number: US 424359
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Status verified by specimen annotations only
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): M. W. Harrington
Year Collected: 1871
Locality: Shumagins I., Alaska, United States, North America
  • Isosyntype: Gray, A. 1886. Syn. Fl. N. Amer. 2: 395.
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Isosyntype for Campanula rotundifolia var. alaskana A. Gray
Catalog Number: US 424350
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Status verified by specimen annotations only
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): W. Dall
Year Collected: 1873
Locality: Popoff Strait, Alaska, Shumagin Ids., Alaska, United States, North America
  • Isosyntype: Gray, A. 1886. Syn. Fl. N. Amer. 2: 395.
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Isosyntype for Campanula rotundifolia var. alaskana A. Gray
Catalog Number: US 424352
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Status verified by specimen annotations only
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): A. Kellogg
Year Collected: 1867
Locality: Kodiak., Alaska, United States, North America
  • Isosyntype: Gray, A. 1886. Syn. Fl. N. Amer. 2: 395.
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Isosyntype for Campanula rotundifolia var. alaskana A. Gray
Catalog Number: US 424351
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Status verified by specimen annotations only
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): A. Kellogg
Year Collected: 1867
Locality: Kodiak., Alaska, United States, North America
  • Isosyntype: Gray, A. 1886. Syn. Fl. N. Amer. 2: 395.
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Isosyntype for Campanula rotundifolia var. alaskana A. Gray
Catalog Number: US 424353
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Status verified by specimen annotations only
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): A. Kellogg
Year Collected: 1867
Locality: Kodiak., Alaska, United States, North America
  • Isosyntype: Gray, A. 1886. Syn. Fl. N. Amer. 2: 395.
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Ecology

Habitat

The harebell is found in a very broad range of dry, open and fairly undisturbed habitats (5), such as grasslands, roadsides, fixed sand dunes, as well as railway and road verges (3). It also tolerates a range of soil pH, and can thrive in acid heaths and calcareous grassland (5).
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Associations

Faunal Associations

Various bees often visit the flowers, where they seek nectar. While the foliage is potentially edible to mammalian herbivores, only the basal leaves are sufficiently large to attract much attention from them. The seeds are too small to be of any interest to birds. Photographic Location
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Flower-Visiting Insects of Harebells in Illinois

Campanula rotundifolia (Harebells)
(Insect activity is unspecified; the Syrphid fly probably feeds on pollen and is non-pollinating; the butterfly probably sucks nectar; observations are from Reed and Swengel & Swengel)

Bees (long-tongued)
Megachilidae (Megachilini): Megachile latimanus (Re)

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Augochlorella striata (Re); Colletidae (Colletinae): Colletes brevicornis (Re)

Flies
Syrphidae: Toxomerus marginatus fp np (Re)

Butterflies
Lycaenidae: Lycaeides melissa samuelis sn (Sw)

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In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / miner
solitary larva of Amauromyza gyrans mines leaf of Campanula rotundifolia
Other: sole host/prey

Foodplant / parasite
telium of Coleosporium tussilaginis parasitises live Campanula rotundifolia

Foodplant / parasite
erumpent apothecium of Leptotrochila radians parasitises live leaf (basal) of Campanula rotundifolia

Foodplant / miner
larva of Phytomyza campanulae mines leaf of Campanula rotundifolia

Foodplant / parasite
telium of Puccinia campanulae parasitises live petiole of Campanula rotundifolia
Remarks: season: 6-8

Foodplant / spot causer
mainly hypophyllous colony of Ramularia hyphomycetous anamorph of Ramularia macrospora causes spots on live leaf of Campanula rotundifolia

Foodplant / spot causer
amphigenous, scattered, immersed, minute, black pycnidium of Septoria coelomycetous anamorph of Septoria obscura causes spots on live leaf of Campanula rotundifolia

Foodplant / feeds on
Strongylocoris leucocephalus feeds on Campanula rotundifolia

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Campanula rotundifolia

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Campanula rotundifolia

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 31
Specimens with Barcodes: 55
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Status

Widespread (3).
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Threats

This species is not threatened.
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Management

Conservation

Not relevant.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

This little plant prefers full sunlight and moist to dry conditions. It typically grows in shallow rocky soil, but will flourish in ordinary garden soil if taller, more aggressive plants are kept away. Harebell is surprisingly easy to grow, notwithstanding its delicate appearance. It tolerates alkaline soil. Range & Habitat
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Wikipedia

Campanula rotundifolia

Campanula rotundifolia (harebell) is a rhizomatous perennial flowering plant in the bellflower family native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere.

In Scotland, it is often known as the bluebell. Elsewhere in Britain, bluebell refers to Hyacinthoides non-scripta, and in North America, bluebell refers to Virginia bluebell.

Description[edit]

Petal lobes curve outwards.
Growing wild on a soil covered concrete slab.

Campanula rotundifolia is a perennial species of flowering plant, a slender, prostrate to erect herb, 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.[1] The inflorescence is a panicle or raceme, with 1 – 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 (0.5–1.2 in) long and five long, pointed green sepals behind them. Plants with pale pink or white flowers may also occur.[1] The petal lobes are triangular and curve outwards. The seeds are produced in a capsule about 3–4 mm (0.1–0.2 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 Campanulas, 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.[1][2][3] In Missouri, it flowers from May to August; in Minnesota, from June to October. The flowers are pollinated by bees, but can self-pollinate.

Adaptations[edit]

If exposed to moist cool conditions during the summer no pause in vegetative growth is exhibited,[citation needed] which suggests that temperature is a limiting factor.[citation needed] 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.[4]

Habitat[edit]

Harebells are native to dry, nutrient-poor grassland and heaths in Britain, northern Europe, and North America. The plant often successfully colonises cracks in walls or cliff faces and dunes.

Forms[edit]

The species is very variable in form.

It occurs as tetraploid or hexaploid populations in Britain and Ireland, but diploids occur widely in continental Europe.[5] 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.[1]

Culture[edit]

The Harebell is dedicated to Saint Dominic.

In 2002 Plantlife named it the county flower of Yorkshire in the United Kingdom.[6]

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.[7][note 1]

John Clare draws attention to the brightness of the flowers of the Harebell in the dark of the wood.

By the hare-bell 's hazure sky,
(Like the hue of thy bright eye;)
That grows in woods, and groves so fair,
Where love I'd meet thee there.[8]

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.[9]

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[10]

Notes[edit]

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

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Stevens, C.J.; Wilson, J; McAllister, H.A. (2012). "Biological Flora of the British Isles: Campanula rotundifolia". Journal of Ecology 100: 821–839. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2745.2012.01963.x. 
  2. ^ 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. p. 250. ISBN 978-1408179505. 
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ 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).
  5. ^ McAllister, H.A. 1973. The experimental taxonomy of Campanula rotundifolia L. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Glasgow
  6. ^ Plantlife website County Flowers page
  7. ^ William Shakespeare, Cymbeline (iv. 2), Arviragus speech
  8. ^ John Clare,Poem, By a Cottage Near a Wood, written at High Beach, Epping, 1837–1841, and at Northborough, 1841
  9. ^ Christina G Rossetti, A Nursery Rhyme Book, Macmillan and Co., London, New York (1893)
  10. ^ Emily Dickinson, Did the Harebell loose her girdle, Volume: Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, first published in 1955

Books[edit]

  • R and A Fitter, The Wild Flowers of Britain and Northern Europe, Collins, 1974
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