Campanula americana L.

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Common names:
American bellflower, tall bellflower
Synonyms:
Campanula americana L. var. illinoensis (Fresen.) Farw.; Campanulastrum americanum (L.) Small
Description:
Growth form:
Annual or biennial herb,
Size:
0.5 - 2 m tall.
Stem
coarse, erect, unbranched or sometimes freely branching. If the stem is broken or cut, it exudes milky sap.
Leaves
alternate, stalked, toothed, more than 1 cm wide, longer than wide, with a slender tip, and a tapering base, which sometimes continues down onto the slightly winged stalk.
Inflorescence
of elongate spikes up to 60 cm long, with flowers clustered (or single) in the axils of bracts. Lower bracts leaf-like, but upper ones reduced.
Flowers
blue, 2 - 2.5 cm wide, radially symmetric, with five spreading lobes.
Sepals
five, but fused at base, then separating into 5 - 10 mm long, linear, spreading lobes.
Petals
five, but fused into a tube at the base, then separating into spreading, somewhat egg-shaped lobes. The petal tube elongates with age.
Stamens
five, with filaments attached to the very base of the petal tube, and the anthers extending beyond the petal lobes.
Pistil
with a single, three-chambered, inferior ovary; and a single, long, down-curved style, which curves upward before ending in a three-lobed stigma.
Fruit
a many-seeded, three-chambered, 7 - 12 mm long, almost cylinder-shaped, hairless capsule, which opens by round pores located near the top.
Help:
Plant Glossary
Similar species:
Campanula americana is superficially similar to the non-native, European species, C. rapunculoides, but that species has non-spreading flower lobes, capsule pores located near the base, and non-tapered, often heart-shaped leaf bases with no leaf tissue continuing onto the leaf stalks. All other species of Campanula are smaller and more delicate with bell-shaped or funnel-shaped flowers.
Flowering:
July to early November
Habitat and ecology:
Common in rich woodlands, shaded floodplains or moist borders, usually preferring rich moist soil and somewhat open or even semi-disturbed areas such as trails, edges of fields, and railroads.
Regional occurrence:
native
Notes:
This is the only species of Campanula with wide-spreading petals, a petal tube which elongates in age, stamens which reach up and over the petals, pantoporate pollen (pores spread over the surface, possibly in a regular pattern), and a capsule which opens by subapical valves. Accordingly, this species has often been separated into its own genus, Campanulastrum.
Etymology:
Campanula americana
vPlants
name code: CAAM6 ; page author: The Field Museum ; page date: 2007-02-20
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