Rampion bellflower

Botanical Name : Campanula rapunculus
Kingdom: Plantae
Family: Campanulaceae
Genus: Campanula
Species: C. rapunculus
Order: Asterales

Synonyms:
*Campanula elatior Hoffmanns. & Link
*Campanula lusitanica f. bracteosa (Willk.) Cout.
*Campanula lusitanica f. racemoso-paniculata (Willk.) Cout.
*Campanula lusitanica f. verruculosa (Hoffmanns. & Link) Cout.
*Campanula lusitanica var. cymoso-spicata (Willk.) Cout.
*Campanula lusitanica auct.
*Campanula verruculosa Hoffmanns. & Link

Common Names : Rampion bellflower, rampion, or rover bellflower

Habitat :Rampion bellflower is found wild in England, on gravelly roadsides and hedgebanks and in open pastures, from Stafford southwards, but it is uncertain whether it should be held as a true native in the localities in southern England, where it is now established.  This species prefers limestone soils and grows in dry meadows, cultivated beds, forests of oaks and pine trees, along roadsides and lane, at an altitude of 0–1,500 metres (0–4,900 ft) above sea level.

This plantis present in western Asia, northern Africa and in most of Europe, except Iceland, Ireland and Norway. It has been introduced in Denmark, southern Sweden and Great Britain

Description:
Rampion bellflower is a biennial (but can be made perennial) herbaceous plant reaches on average 40–80 centimetres (16–31 in) of height, with a maximum of 100 centimetres (39 in) . The stem is erect, lightly hairy, branched on the top. The basal leaves are petiolated, ovate, slightly toothed and arranged in a rosette, while the upper leaves are sessile and narrow lanceolate. The hermaphrodite flowers are clustered in a racemose inflorescence, with a bell-shaped, light blue or violet corolla, about two centimeters long. They are arranged along the stem in a fairly narrow one-sided facing cluster. The flowering period extends from May through September. The fruit is a dehiscent capsule in the form of inverted cone with many seeds. The thick root looks like a small turnip and it is edible.

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The leaves are variable, 1 to 3 inches long, the radical leaves oblong or ovate, on long stalks and slightly crenate, the stem-leaves narrow and mostly entire, or obscurely toothed. The flowers, which bloom in July and August, are about 3/4 inch long, reddish purple, blue or white, on short peduncles, forming long, simple or slightly branched panicles. The corolla is divided to about the middle into five lanceolate segments. The capsule is short and erect, opening in small lateral clefts, close under the narrow linear segments of the calyx.

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Drayton names it among the vegetables and pot-herbs of the kitchen garden, in his poem Polyolbion, and there is a reference to it in the slang of Falstaff, showing how generally it was in cultivation in this country in Shakespeare’s time.

There is an Italian tradition that the possession of a rampion excites quarrels among children. The plant figures in one of Grimm’s tales, the heroine, Rapunzel, being named after it, and the whole plot is woven around the theft of rampions from a magician’s garden. In an old Calabrian tale, a maiden, uprooting a rampion in a field, discovers a staircase that leads to a palace far down in the depths of the earth.

Cultivation:
Rampion is easily cultivated and will flourish in ordinary good soil, though a moist, sandy soil suits it best.

Seeds should be sown in shallow drills, a foot apart, in May, and thinned out to 5 or 6 inches in the rows. The young plants should be moderately watered at first.

If grown for culinary use, it must not be allowed to flower, and the roots should be earthed up several inches on each side in order to blanch them. They are fit for use in November, and should be lifted then and stored in a frost-proof place.

Medicinal Action and Uses:
Gerard tells us: ‘Some affirme that the decoction of the roots are good for all inflammation of the mouth and almonds of the throte and other diseases happening in the mouth and throte, as the other Throte warts.’

An old writer states that the distilled water of the whole plant is excellent for the complexion and ‘maketh the face very splendent.’

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/r/rampio03.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campanula_rapunculus

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