1. Family: Campanulaceae Juss.
    1. Genus: Campanula L.
      1. Campanula thyrsoides L.

        There are over 300 species of Campanula (bellflower), most of which have purple to blue, or sometimes white or pink, flowers. Campanula thyrsoides is hence unusual in having yellow flowers. Although traditionally considered a biennial (flowering and dying after two years), it usually flowers after eight years in the wild, and grows even older at higher altitudes. C. thyrsoides was described by the Swedish botanist and ‘father of modern taxonomy’ Carl Linnaeus in his pivotal publication Species Plantarum, in 1753.

    [KSP]

    Kew Species Profiles

    General Description
    Yellow bellflower is unusual amongst the campanulas in having yellow flowers, and is considered rare in many alpine countries.

    There are over 300 species of Campanula (bellflower), most of which have purple to blue, or sometimes white or pink, flowers. Campanula thyrsoides is hence unusual in having yellow flowers. Although traditionally considered a biennial (flowering and dying after two years), it usually flowers after eight years in the wild, and grows even older at higher altitudes. C. thyrsoides was described by the Swedish botanist and ‘father of modern taxonomy’ Carl Linnaeus in his pivotal publication Species Plantarum, in 1753.

    Species Profile

    Geography and distribution

    Native to the European Alps, Balkan Mountains and Dinaric Alps (where it occurs in France, Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Bulgaria). It has been found at 1,010-2,900 m (most commonly at 1,600-2,200 m) above sea level.

    Description

    A hapaxanthic (flowering only once before dying) perennial with a thick, fleshy taproot, usually 20-40 cm long but up to 1 m. All parts of the plant contain sticky, milky latex. The narrow, stiffly hairy leaves form a rosette at ground level. The leaves that develop during the summer are shorter than those that develop during the spring.

    The unbranched flowering stem bears numerous narrow leaves and is 10-100 cm tall, with a covering of bristly hairs. Each flowering stem bears 50-200 tubular, upright, bell-shaped, pale-yellow flowers, 15-25 mm long, which are crowded near the top of the stem.

    The flowers are insect-pollinated; bumblebees are the main pollinators.

    Threats and conservation

    Although considered rare throughout its native range, yellow bellflower is locally abundant. It is protected in Germany, and regionally in some parts of Austria and Switzerland. Campanula thyrsoides is listed in national Red Lists (according to IUCN criteria) as follows:

    • Austria - ‘Near Threatened’
    • Bulgaria - ‘Endangered’
    • Croatia - ‘Strictly Protected’
    • France - ‘Least Concern’
    • Germany - ‘Vulnerable’
    • Switzerland - ‘Least Concern’ (but regionally ‘Vulnerable’ or ‘Near Threatened’)

    Uses

    Yellow bellflower is occasionally grown as an unusual ornamental for the alpine house or rock garden. It has no known medicinal uses.

    Millennium Seed Bank: Seed storage

    Kew's Millennium Seed Bank Partnership aims to save plant life world wide, focusing on plants under threat and those of most use in the future. Seeds are dried, packaged and stored at a sub-zero temperature in our seed bank vault.

    Description of seeds:Seeds are flattenedNumber of seed collections stored in the Millennium Seed Bank:OneSeed storage behaviour:100 % germination was achieved on a 1% agar medium, at a temperature of 16°C, and a cycle of 12 hours daylight/12 hours darkness

    Cultivation

    Because yellow bellflower is cultivated as a biennial, it is important that the seeds are collected and sown every second year. The plants thrive in well-drained soil in full sun, with some feeding in the first year of growth to build up a strong plant for flowering.

    This species at Kew

    Yellow bellflower can be seen most years in the Davies Alpine House or Rock Garden at Kew.

    Distribution
    Austria, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Italy
    Ecology
    Dry alpine meadows and grassy slopes, with a moderate disturbance regime; usually on limestone.
    Conservation
    Considered to be rare in many countries, but can be abundant in the local areas where it does occur, and hence is not considered to be endangered on a global basis.
    Hazards

    None known.

    Images

    Distribution

    Found In:

    Austria, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Yugoslavia

    Common Names

    English
    Yellow bellflower

    Campanula thyrsoides L. appears in other Kew resources:

    First published in Sp. Pl.: 167 (1753)

    Accepted in:

    • [4] Bernini, A., Marconi, G. & Polani, F. (2002) Campanule d'Italia e dei territori limitrofi . Univ. di Trieste, Italy.
    • [5] Govaerts, R. (1999) World Checklist of Seed Plants 3(1, 2a & 2b): 1-1532. MIM, Deurne.

    Literature

    • [1] World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (2011). Campanula thyrsoides. Published by the Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
    • [2] Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. (2008) Seed Information Database (SID). Version 7.1.
    • [3] Kuss, P., Ægisdóttir, H.H. & Stöcklin, J. (2007). The biological flora of Central Europe: Campanula thyrsoides L. Perspect. Plant Ecol., 9: 37-51.
    • [6] Fedorov, A. & Kovanda, M. (1976). Campanulaceae. In: Flora Europaea, Volume 4, ed. T.G. Tutin, V.H. Heywood et al., pp. 74-93. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
    • [7] Sims, J. (1810). Campanula thyrsoidea [sic]. Curtis’s Bot. Mag. 32: t. 1290.

    Sources

    International Plant Names Index
    The International Plant Names Index (2016). Published on the Internet http://www.ipni.org
    [A] © Copyright 2016 International Plant Names Index. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Kew Species Profiles
    Kew Species Profiles
    [B] http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
    [C]

    World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
    World Checklist of Selected Plant Families(2016). Published on the Internet http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    [D] See http://kew.org/about-kew/website-information/legal-notices/index.htm You may use data on these Terms and Conditions and on further condition that: The data is not used for commercial purposes; You may copy and retain data solely for scholarly, educational or research purposes; You may not publish our data, except for small extracts provided for illustrative purposes and duly acknowledged; You acknowledge the source of the data by the words "With the permission of the Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew" in a position which is reasonably prominent in view of your use of the data; Any other use of data or any other content from this website may only be made with our prior written agreement. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
    [E] © Copyright 2016 International Plant Names Index and World Checkist of Selected Plant Families. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0