Bellflowers in the woods along Lake Meyers in northeast Iowa. USA
Campanula rotundifolia L.
Bluebell bellflower, Bluebell-of-Scotland, Harebell
Campanulaceae (Bellflower Family)
A delicate perennial with graceful, slender stems, usually in clusters, rising in height from 4-15 in. The stems can be weak so that the entire plant bends over. Its rounded, basal leaves wither early while the narrow, stem leaves remain. Blue-violet bell-shaped flowers hang singly or in clusters along the top parts of nodding, thread-like, mostly unbranched stems that grow in small patches. The nodding, bell-shaped, lavender flowers are borne in loose clusters at stem tips.
The genus name, from the Latin campana (bell), means little bell. The name Harebell may allude to an association with witches, who were believed able to transform themselves into hares, portents of bad luck when they crossed a persons path. In Scotland, another old name for this plant was Witches Thimble. The characteristics of this perennial vary considerably, depending on habitat conditions. Among other common species are the Southern Harebell (C. divaricata), with wider leaves and smaller, white or pale lavender flowers, typical of wet, grassy meadows. The common garden Bellflower (C. rapunculoides), which frequently escapes from cultivation, has flowers usually borne on one side of the stems and lanceolate or heart-shaped leaves.