Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Tall Bellflower - Campanulastrum americanum   (L.) Small
Members of Campanulaceae:
Only member of Campanulastrum in NC.
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Section 6 » Order Campanulales » Family Campanulaceae
Author(L.) Small
DistributionThroughout the Mountains, and adjacent Piedmont foothills. Widely scattered over most of the remainder of the Piedmont, and barely into the adjacent Coastal Plain in Halifax County.

This is a widespread Midwestern species, ranging from NY west to SD, and south to the FL Panhandle and LA, but nearly absent on the Coastal Plain.
AbundanceFrequent to common in the Mountains; infrequent in the higher Piedmont ranges. Very rare in the remainder of the Piedmont, including near the Roanoke River in Halifax County and the Deep River in Moore and Lee counties.
HabitatThis species grows in rich hardwood forests, typically on high pH soils -- which are common in the Mountains but rare in the Piedmont. In the Mountains, it is more often found along forest borders, roadbanks, and in openings than in forest interiors. Farther east into the Piedmont, however, it usually grows in forest interiors in Basic Mesic Forests or on riverside ledges.
PhenologyBlooms from late June to September, and fruits from August to October.
IdentificationThis is a tall herb, growing to 3-4 feet tall on average, rarely to 6 feet tall; stems may be unbranched or have a few branches. It has numerous, alternate stem leaves, each being lanceolate, 4-5 inches long and 1.5-2 inches wide, with serrated margins. The upper 1 foot or more of the stem contains the leafy/bract-like inflorescence, a raceme of numerous flowers, blooming from bottom to the top. Each flower has 5 rounded petals in a flat plane, facing sideways to the horizon, lavender-blue to medium-blue, and about 1-inch across, with a very long and curved style sticking out like a narrow tongue. No other NC species can be confused with it in bloom, especially as others in the genus have dangling, bell-shaped (campanulate) flowers. This should be an easily seen species when you are driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway or other montane forest roads in midsummer.
Taxonomic CommentsA synonym is Campanula americana.

Other Common Name(s)American Bellflower
State RankS4
Global RankG5
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