Monday, July 11, 2011

Harebells are Ringing in the Wind

You might know these native wildflowers as "bluebells," but that's one of those common names that gets tossed around a number of blueish flowering plants.

The correct name is common harebell (Campanula rotundifolia). It grows in a variety of heights and habitats, though it tends to show up infrequently. The leaves will often wither away before the flowers appear in mid-June. It grows short with hairy leaves in dry areas, and tall with less-hairy leaves in wet areas.  Either way, it is best appreciated by laying on your stomach and peering up into the little bell-shaped flowers.

According to my hero, Ben Gadd, the name may be derived from the phonetic spelling of Scottish "heather bells." This would make more sense to me than "hare" as in little bunnies.