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Bellflower

Does the name ring a bell? Of course as the name suggests, the bell flower is a bell like flower which hangs on the branches upside down. Bell flower is the common name that has been designated to the species of flowers which have a definite and attractive bell shaped flowers.

A peek-a-boo into the plant habits
Not only the common name but also the scientific name is linked with the bell shaped flowers. Companula, as we call it according to its botanical nomenclature, Bellflower belongs to the large family of flowers called Campanulaceae. Usually all the flowers of this family are known as Bellflower. Companula means a "little bell". More than about 300 species come under this genus and are diversely distributed in the temperate regions of the entire world. However Mediterranean regions can be counted as the most abundant regions where Bellflowers can be traced.

   

The numerous species vary in life cycles and other habits as well. Bellflowers may be annual, biennial or perrenial plants. The height ranges from the dwarf size of 5cm to the tallest one as 2m. The plant bears green fleshy leaves arranged in a sessile manner alternatively on both the sides of the tall stem. It is a noticeable fact that many species of Bellflowers contain whitish latex in the fleshy leaves and fat stem. The flowers, occasionally solitary, have a bell shaped appearance and are usually large in size. the color varies from blue to purple, and at times can also be pink or white. The pretty flowers also contain numerous little seeds inside the corolla.

What's in a name?
A number of species are widespread in the entire world and are known by different names.

Companula rotundifolia grows abundantly in Europe and is known as Harebell In England and Bluebell in Scotland. In southern Europe the name Canterbury Bells denotes the bellflower. Rampion bellflower derived its name from a well known fairytale 'Rapunzel' and it is grown on a large scale in the Europen continent as a garden plant and at times also utilized as an annual vegetable. The blue, {Purple and white varieties are the most popular amongst the gardeners and the florists. Other than these commercial blooms, Bell flower is also seen in many wild forms.
 

Types of Bell flowers

  • American Bellflower
    Scientifically known as Campanula americana, this bellflower grows well in height and is considered to be the tallest variety. An unusual bellflower, it grows flowers that are flat and many form elongated bunches. A self pollinating plant it can be abundantly traced in the regions of America, especially in the Great Plains and the eastern coast.
  • Codonopsis Bellflower
    Widely known as bonnet bellflowers, these flowers are prominently used in horticulture trade. this variety is commonly found in Asian regions.
 

Platycodon grandiflorus
These perrenial bellflowers are usually called Chinese bellflowers or Japanese Bellflowers. Big blue flowers are the trademark of this variety and it generally grows in the Eastern Asian regions. These flowers are not only treated as ornamental but have proved to be of anti-inflammatory usage. the roots are used as a traditional herb and a common ingredient in salads in Korea.

Other uses
Bellflowers are known for their attractive appearances and therefore are a prominent garden ornamental.

  • Florists and gardeners have developed a soft heart for these delicate pretty colorful flowers and that's the reason that the market has flourished with the numerous varieties of bellflowers.
  • Chinese bellflowers are also used in traditional medicines.
  • In Korea, Bellflowers are consumed with salads and they also form a condiment usage in traditional herbal dishes.
  • Canterbury Bellflowers grow really attractive in flower beds, borders, and containers.
  • The bell flowers also make up for excellent floral arrangements after cutting.
  • Canterbury Bellflowers ia also used by Beekeepers for making potently sweet honey.
  • The root of certain species like radix platycodi acts as an anti-inflammatory in curing coughs and colds.

Certain Interesting facts

  • White Bellflowers are so predominantly popular in Korea that they have composed a song on the Chinese bell flowers
  • One of the species of bellflower is known as Giant bellflower due to its enormously large size of the flower. Scientifically the flower is known as Campanula latifolia
  • Campanula gelida is an endangered species of the Bellflowers and has been continuously losing its significance due to climatic variation and lessened care. It is found only in the Czech Republic and that too in little traces
  • Rock Harebell is a variety of Bellflower which grows amidst the rocks and gravel and this flower is found only in California.


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