Creeping Bellflower

July 2, 2010 at 4:02 am 2 comments

This beautiful, delicate-looking plant is serious trouble. It’s been described as a hellcat, unruly and horribly invasive. “If it has a weakness I am unaware of it,” says one author, using a tone normally reserved for zombies.

Creeping Bellflower (Campanula rapunculoides) was brought here from Europe because it’s a beautiful garden plant. It is also adept at surviving in urban and cultivated areas. It can squeeze through even the tiniest cracks in the pavement. You can’t kill it by yanking it up, because it can regrow from the smallest pieces of root left in the ground. Its deep and powerful root system can’t be eliminated by mere mortals.

To identify Creeping Bellflower, look for stalks up to 3 feet high with blooms on one side of the stalk. The flowers are bell-shaped and open into a five-pointed star. There are some local native bellflowers that look a little bit similar, but none is as spectacular, and none will colonize sidewalk cracks in the same aggressive way. Before the flowers have arrived, the plant is low to the ground and inconspicuous.

Most weed guides suggest destroying Creeping Bellflower with powerful chemicals, or digging up the entire affected area, including a substantial buffer zone. Alternately, you can sit on your porch and watch the purple flowers sway in the breeze, resigned to a life under the control of your beautiful bellflower overlords.


Entry filed under: Herbaceous plants.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Rod  |  August 2, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    Strange . . bellflower in horribly invasive in my Manitoba yard, but not considered a threat on the Sunshine Coast. How is that possible – too wet on the coast?

    • 2. Urban Botany  |  August 5, 2010 at 1:38 am

      I didn’t know that! It definitely doesn’t like to be overwatered, so that could be the reason.


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