Perennial herb 0.4 - 1 m tall Stem: usually unbranched, tall, slender, hairless, or sparsely hairy above with the hairs sometimes in lines. If the stem is broken or cut, it exudes milky sap. Leaves: alternate, more than 1 cm wide, toothed, coarse, and usually sparsely hairy beneath. The lower leaves are long-stalked with a round or heart-shaped base. Upper leaves stalkless or very short-stalked, and narrowly egg- or lance-shaped. Inflorescence: an elongate, one-sided, terminal "spike" of blue (or bluish violet), 2 - 3 cm long, funnel-shaped, short-stalked, nodding flowers in the axils of small bracts. Sepals: five, but fused at base, then separating into oblong to elongate lance-shaped lobes, which are recurved at maturity. The sepals are much shorter than the petals, and rough on the outside due to short, stiff, down-curved hairs (rarely hairless). Petals: five, but fused for about half their length, then separating into ascending, lance-shaped lobes with bristly-hairy edges. Stamens: five, with filaments attached to the base of the petal tube. Pistil: with a single, three-chambered, inferior ovary; and a single style, which ends in a three-lobed stigma. Fruit: a many-seeded, three-chambered, short capsule, which opens by pores near the base, and is covered with downward curved, bristly hairs. Rhizomes: horizontal, underground, stout, with many fleshy, downward pointing roots.
Similar species: Campanula rapunculoides is similar to the native C. americana, but that species has tapered leaf bases with some leaf tissue continuing onto the leaf stalks, spreading flower lobes, linear sepal lobes, hairless fruit, and the pores of the capsule are located near the top. Other species of Campanula in our area are much smaller and more delicate.
Flowering: June to September
Habitat and ecology: Often found in lawns, thickets, along roadsides, or in other waste ground. This is a persistent, and potentially invasive, weed.
Occurence in the Chicago region: non-native
Notes: Campanula rapunculoides is a Eurasian species, which is planted as a garden perennial, and unfortunately often escapes to become an aggressive weed. It spreads easily by underground rhizomes to form persistent weedy colonies, especially along roadsides, railroads, thickets, and other waste places. This species has been listed as invasive in Wisconsin and is potentially problematic in the Chicago Region even though it is currently confined to waste areas.
Perennial 4-10 dm from a rhizome with many fleshy vertical roots, usually unbranched; stem smooth or sparsely hairy; lvs coarse, irregularly serrate, usually sparsely hairy beneath, the lower long-petioled, ovate, rounded to subcordate at base, the upper progressively narrowed to lanceolate and often subsessile; infl strict, unbranched, secund, with much reduced bracts; sep and hypanthium glabrous to finely hairy; cor blue, somewhat nodding, 2-3 cm; 2n=102. A persistent weed in lawns, roadsides and waste ground; native of Eurasia, intr. from N.S. to Minn., s. to Del., Ky., and Mo. July, Aug.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.
In 1937 I found a colony about 200 feet long and from one to three feet wide on the east side of a north and south road near the south side of sec. 11 about five and a half miles southeast of Angola, Steuben County. No house was near and no evidence of a former habitation near. I found it also as an escape along the railroad near Bluffton, Wells County. I found the glabrous variety ucranica as an escape along a roadside in Lake County. I have not been able to revisit this place to learn if it has persisted or not.