For Your Garden - October 2019
Native plants provide beauty as well as food and shelter for wildlife. Native species are adapted to the Illinois climate. They require little or no watering and are resistant to drought, insects and most diseases. Because they are perennials, you can welcome their presence year after year.
Photo © Illinois Department of Natural Resources
American bellflower is an annual or biennial herb. Its sap is milky. The erect stem may be branched. Leaves are arranged alternately along the stem. Each simple, lance‐shaped leaf is toothed. A single leaf may be six inches long and two inches wide. The five-petaled, pale‐blue flowers are flat and have a lighter ring at the center. The style (part of the female reproductive structures) is very long and curved. Flowers develop in a cluster on a stalk that may be one and one‐half feet long. The fruit is a club‐shaped capsule, about one‐half inch long, containing flat, brown seeds. American bellflower may attain a height of one and one‐half to six feet and may be found throughout Illinois. It grows in woodlands. Flowers are produced from June through November. White‐tailed deer may eat the leaves of this plant.
Classification and taxonomy are based on Mohlenbrock, Robert H. 2014. Vascular flora of Illinois: A field guide. Fourth edition. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale. 536 pp.