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Campanula rapunculoides

Campanula rapunculoides
creeping bellflower; rampion bellflower
Campanula rapunculoides

Common name creeping bellflower; rampion bellflower
Family campanulaceae
Life cycle perennial (Z3-9)
Flowers blue (summer)
Size 12-24"
Light sun-part shade

A plant that comes with severe warnings, for it spreads agressively by its roots. I grew it from seed, and I didn't allow it to leave the pot in which I grew it: I planted it pot and all in the summer of its first season, where it overwintered and came back strong for its second year. It proceeded to bloom, and I thought it looked rather like the plant we had been growing as Adenophora lilifolia. It turns out that our Adenophora was in fact this campanula, as were several other "Adenophora" species I grew from seed derived from trades and society exchanges. Just for fun, I'm keeping a collection below of all those misidentified ones, each of which I had high hopes for until the truth became evident... As for the C. rapunculoides plant I actually grew on purpose: I allowed the plant pictured here to live in its pot for another year or so, but then discarded it – its ornamental properties are not worth the havoc it wreaks on garden areas it overruns...
One thing to note is that even though I believe all of these misidentified 'adenophoras' were in fact C. rapunculoides, they didn't all have the same habit in the garden. The specimen received as lilifolia was an aggressive root spreader - it didn't need to bloom to spread itself around. But most of the others don't seem to run by roots very much, instead multiplying by seed (which is easier to deal with, since none of these plants is very fast to flower, so they can be pulled up before they propagate themselves).

creeping bellflower; rampion bellflower
The plant we obtained as 'Adenophora lilifolia' that wasn't

My original write-up of A. liliifolia: Pretty bellflowers on upright stalks. Too bad the plant we obtained (from a reputable online nursery, too) turned out to want to conquer the world by root. It was almost certainly the evil Campanula rapunculoides – which I have still not eradicated from the areas of the garden where it managed to get a foothold.

Campanula rapunculoides

My original write-up of "Adenophora pereskiifolia": One of two new species of Adenophora we grew from seed a few years ago. Their basal foliage looked quite different from that of others in the genus in early spring, but by mid-summer the plants look similar to their peers. My attempt to ascertain, by examining the base of the style, that this is indeed an adenophora rather than a campanula failed, and the leaves look different from online photos of the species, so I'm pretty sure my plants are not what I think they are. They appear distinct from similar species in the way the white stamens spiral around the style. In any case, they have shown no invasive tendencies, which is always a relief with campanulas and their close relatives.
Post-scriptum: although this particular strain did not spread much by roots, it has proven a nuisance from self-seeding. Still trying to get rid of it in our bogside border.

creeping bellflower; rampion bellflower

My original write-up of A. polyantha: We've had A. lilifolia in our garden for a long time, and because we've come to understand all too well its wandering ways, I was hesitant to admit any of its cousins into our garden. However, I learned that there are many worthy, non-invasive species of ladybells, and so we've been trying a couple new ones. The flowers of this species look rather like the lily-leaved one.

Campanula rapunculoides

My original write-up of A. khasiana: Many-branched perennial bearing spikes of large blue bellflowers, with a darker purple ring around the eyes. At least that's what they were supposed to look like.

creeping bellflower; rampion bellflower
Flowers arranged nearly around the stem

We left this plant behind in our Pennsylvania garden (and wish it well); we don't grow it in Houston.

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