The harebell, often known as 'bluebell' in Scotland, is a delicate, beautiful wildflower (4). It is a member of the bluebell family; the name of the genus Campanula derives from the Latin for 'bell', and refers to the shape of the flowers (4). The blue, or rarely white, nodding flowers are papery thin (5), and occur either solitarily or in loose spikes (6). The stems are creeping at the base, with round leaves, hence the specific name rotundifolia, which means 'round-leaved' (4); in contrast, the leaves on the erect part of the stem are long and narrow (2).
This perennial species is one of the last flowers of the year (5); the flowers are present from June to October (6). It has thickened, branching, creeping storage stems known as 'rhizomes'; roots grow from the underside of the rhizome, and during the growing season new growth sprouts from buds along the top (5).
The harebell is found in a very broad range of dry, open and fairly undisturbed habitats (5), such as grasslands, roadsides, fixed sand dunes, as well as railway and road verges (3). It also tolerates a range of soil pH, and can thrive in acid heaths and calcareous grassland (5).
Plants that live for at least three seasons; after an initial period they produce flowers once a year.
Rhizomes are thickened, branching, creeping storage stems. Although most rhizomes grow laterally just along or slightly below the soil's surface, some grow several inches deep. Roots grow from the underside of the rhizome, and during the growing season new growth sprouts from buds along the top. A familiar rhizome is the ginger used in cooking.
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