Saturday, July 17, 2010

100 Species Challenge #68

Specimen #68: Tall Bellflower
Campanulastrum americanum, formerly known as Campanula americana

Native, attracts hummingbirds

photo by me, north Polk County

Found by some kids at wood carving class, thanks to my homeschool production company. The class meets in a rich, moist, hilly woodland area. We meet in a mowed field under a picnic shelter. I'm sure this plant was found in the margin (the part of the forest that meets the open field). Despite its name, there are no bells.

Tall bellflower can be short (2 ft) and tall (5 ft). The books say it gets up to 7 feet tall. The flowers are about an inch wide, five petals, blue.

And I cannot believe this flower has not been mentioned here ever! It's everywhere. In my copy of North American Wildlife, I found this interesting fact:

"In some plants, cross-pollination occurs because the pollen-producing stamens and seed-producing pistil develop in different flowers; sometimes they are even borne on different plants. In others, the two organs are in separate parts of the same flower. In the bellflowers, however, each blossom has two distinct stages of development. First the stamens produce pollen, and the stigmas at the tip of the pistil remain closed. The pollen falls and collects inside the flower, to be picked up on the bodies of bees and carried to older blossoms, where the stigmas have opened. As a last resort, if the pistil remains unfertilized, its tip curls around to pick up a little loose pollen from inside its own flower."

You can see the nature of the flowers' growth here. The flowers open from bottom of the stem to the top of the stem. Lance-like leaves, hairy stem. Like I said above, it seems to be everywhere I go.


~Maria said...

I was checking the prairie as I mowed last night and think that was evident in there. Is it native, good/bad? There seems to be a lot of it around elsewhere here too. We also have wild bergamont and brown-eyed susans out there! There is promise among the poison ivy and weeds! :)

Alea said...

What a lovely flower. You are fortunate to have such a ubiquitous flower.