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Creeping bellflower

(Campanula rapunculoides)

Photo of Creeping bellflower
Photo credit: Elizabeth J. Czarapata

Herbaceous perennial that is 1-3’ tall. The stems are smooth to slightly hairy and contain a milky liquid.

Overview

Other names for this plant include:
  • Common names: European bellflower, rampion bellflower, rampion harebell
  • Scientific names: C. rhomboidalis, C. rapunculoides var ucranica, C. cordifolia
Ecological threat:
  • Invades fields, stream banks, woodlands, prairies, roadsides, urban areas and oak savannas.
  • Introduced as an ornamental, creeping bellflower escaped gardens and is now found throughout Wisconsin.
  • Creates monoculture stands through seed production and rhizomes.
Overview map of creeping bellflower classification in WI
Restricted (orange) counties

Classification in Wisconsin: Restricted

Species Assessment Groups (SAG) were assembled to recommend a legal classification for each species considered for NR 40. The recommendation for the creeping bellflower was based upon this literature review [PDF] developed by the department.

Identification

Leaves: Alternate with downward-pointing hairs on the underside. Basal leaves are heart-shaped and 1-3” long with long petioles while upper leaves are narrow and lance-shaped and little to no petiole. Leaves are slightly serrate, rough on both sides and reduced to bracts in inflorescence.

Flowers: Blue-purple in color, 5-lobed and bell-shaped. The inflorescence is an unbranched, one-sided raceme that is more than half the length of the plant with one nodding flower in each leaf axil. Blooms from the bottom up during June-October.

Fruits & seeds: Each flower produces 50-150 seeds.

Roots: Rhizomatic with numerous, thick, vertical roots.

Similar species: Bluebell (Campanula rotundifolia; native) is a smaller plant, 4-20” tall and has similar blue flowers that are shorter and are on thin stems. Leaves are stalked with the lower leaves being oval and falling off as the plant matures.

Control

Mechanical: Dig at least 6” deep and several inches out from the plant to ensure you have gotten all of the roots. Repeated pulling or mowing in a growing season will weaken the plant but will not kill it.

Chemical: Apply a glyphosate solution using a foliar spray or wicking method. If not wanting to damage grass, herbicides with dicamba as the active ingredient can be applied.

For more information on control techniques, visit the Creeping bellflower factsheet [exit DNR] by University of Wisconsin-Extension.

Photos

View creeping bellflower pictures in our photo gallery!

Resources

Sources for content:
  • Czarapata, Elizabeth; Invasive Plants of the Upper Midwest: an illustrated guide to their identification and control. University of Wisconsin Press. 2005. Pg. 101
  • Tenaglia, Dan. The Missouri Flora - Campanula rapunculoides [exit DNR].
  • Montana Plant Life – Rampion Harebell [exit DNR] (Campanula rapunculoides).
Links for more information: