Campanula americana L. - Tall Bellflower

Campanula americana plant

Family - Campanulaceae

Stems - To +2m tall, erect, herbaceous, simple or branching above, with milky sap, hollow, from thick roots, slightly winged, (wings to .5mm broad), glabrous or minutely appressed pubescent but with coarse hairs on wings.

Campanula americana stem

Campanula americana sapStem with milky sap.

Leaves - Alternate, short petiolate to sessile, typically abruptly contracted to tapering at base and slightly decurrent on petiole, lance-oblong, serrate(with minute prickles at apices of teeth), acuminate-attenuate, to 17cm long, +/-5cm wide, sparse pubescent above and below. Margins short ciliate. Leaves reduced greatly above to foliaceous bracts.

Campanula americana leaves

Inflorescence - 1-3 axillary flowers in upper potion of stems. Flowers subtended by typically 3 foliaceous bracts. The central bracts larger, the lateral bracts small and linear.

Flowers - Corolla blue-purple, white at the center, 5 lobed, glabrous, rotate, to 1.5-2.5cm broad. Lobes lanceolate-ovate, to 1cm long, their margins sinuous. Stamens 5, alternating with corolla lobes. Filaments white, flattened, joined at base, dense pubescent on one side, to 4mm long. Anthers yellow, spiraling when mature, 5-6mm long. Style white to lilac, thickened, 5mm long. Stigma purple, 5-6mm long, cylindric, slightly curved at apex. Ovary within calyx tube, 3-locular. Placentation axile. Calyx tube to 5mm long, glabrous, 5-lobed. Lobes 7-8mm long, 1mm broad at base, linear-attenuate, spreading to recurved. Fruiting capsules to +1cm long, +/-4mm in diameter.

Campanula americana flower

Flowering - June - September.

Habitat - Moist ground, open moist woods, streambanks, roadside ditches.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This species is quite common and can be found throughout Missouri. The plant is becoming popular in cultivation and grows easily from seed. It would make an attractive addition to any garden.
C. americana is one of the easiest plants to identify while in flower as nothing else in our range even resembles it.

Photographs taken in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, Shannon County, MO., 7-8-03.


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