Harebell (Campanula rotundifolia) | Turf Online Knowledge Base

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Harebell (Campanula rotundifolia)

Key facts about the Harebell

  • Height: 15-40cm
  • Flowering Time: July – September
  • Flower colour: delicate blue
  • Growth habit: Upright
  • Habitat: Dry, infertile soils on undisturbed grounds. Typically heaths, dunes, downland and hillsides
  • Appears in: Meadowmat for Birds and Bees  

Harebell: Plant Profile

pretty blue harebell flowers

The delicate nodding heads of the harebell do indeed look just like a bell. This plant is a member of the campanula family along with the clustered bellflower and the nettle leaved bellflower 

This low growing herb has an erect growing habit, slender stems and rounded basal leaves. Sadly it seems to be rapidly disappearing from our countryside. Gardeners of the UK – we need to do what we can to preserve this gorgeous plant.

Where to use Harebells

Medicinally

Chewing the root of the harebell has traditionally been used in the treatment of heart and lung problems. Ancient herbalists would also make an infusion of the plant to use as a wash for sore eyes.

Culturally

This stunning little plant has inspired many a writer. In this poem, entitled “Hope is Like a Harebell” Christina Rossetti (1830-1894) likens the harebell’s delicate features to the emotion of hope.

Hope is like a harebell, trembling from its birth,
Love is like a rose, the joy of all the earth,
Faith is like a lily, lifted high and white,
Love is like a lovely rose, the world’s delight.
Harebells and sweet lilies show a thornless growth,
But the rose with all its thorns excels them both

Folklore

Looking at the harebell you would never imagine it to be associated with witches, faeries and the devil – but it is! (or rather it was)

The plant probably earned its name by being found in the same places that hares are found. And, as we all know, witches turn themselves into hares when they’re heading out to steal milk from cows. Curiously enough, the harebell does have a milky white sap in its stem.

Learn more about harebells and folklore in this fabulous article. 

Growing Harebells in the garden

We’ve included harebells in Meadowmat for Birds and Bees simply because we love the colour, the delicacy and the fact that it’s flowering when many other wildflower species are out of season.

If you’ve not tried growing wildflowers with Meadowmat before, its probably one of the easiest ways to establish a colourful and wildlife friendly space.

Click here to watch our short explanatory video. 

Love wildflowers? Find out why they are so important to our environment and our culture.