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Tall Bellflower Campanulastrum americanum (Campanula americana)

 

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Tall Bellflower
credit: Ann Arbor Natural Area Preservation

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Alternate name: American Bellflower

Family: Campanulaceae, Bellflower view all from this family



Description Radially symmetrical, light blue to violet flowers borne singly or in clusters in axils of upper leaves and forming an elongated, spike-like cluster.
Habit: native annual or biennial herb; erect, leafy stems, usually unbranched, with milky sap; taprooted.
Height: 2-6 ft (0.6-1.8 m)
Leaf: alternate, stalked, lanceolate to ovate, thin, serrated; to 6 in (15 cm) long, to 2 in (5 cm) wide.
Flower: flat, not bell-shaped, light blue to dark blue-violet, 5-parted, usually stalkless, 1 in (25 mm) wide; with usually paler ring and long protruding style in center; in terminal spike 6-24 in (15-60 cm) long, and in secondary spikes from upper axils, 1-6 in (2.5-15 cm) long.
Fruit: capsule, 5-angled, flat topped.


Flower June to August.


Flower June - August


Habitat Rich moist woods, rocky wooded slopes, stream banks, prairies, open woodlands, railways, forest edges; also cultivated ornamentally.


Range Eastern and central North America, from Ontario and New York, south to Florida, west to Louisiana and Oklahoma, north to South Dakota and Minnesota; not reported in New Jersey or Delaware.


Discussion Also known as American bellflower. In spite of the common name and the genus name, derived from the Latin campana (bell), the flowers of this species are usually flat, not bell-shaped as are many others in this family. Tall Bellflower was formerly included in the genus Campanula.


Exposure Preference Partial shade to sun.


Native Distribution Southern Ontario & New York to Minnesota, s. to Georgia & Louisiana


Site Preference Moist woods; shady streams; thickets


Soil Preference Rich, moist soils. pH 6-7.


 

 

 

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