UK Red list plants -10.  Spreading Bellflower,Campanula patula.


Image above Campanula patula taken in Austria.

Courtesy of Tigerente CC BY-SA 3.0 license.


In this series of articles we look at some of the plants that are featured on the Red list of conservation concern in the UK. The series has featured nine other plants, {so far} that occur on the list. The criteria for inclusion on the list is that the species has declined in numbers/distribution of 50% or more over the last sixty years. Or that they are of international importance. Here in number ten of the series we review the spreading bellflower, Campanula patula.

Description, Distribution  and habitat of the spreading bellflower.

This plant is a species of bellflower than can attain the height of half a meter. It is a delicate species producing lateral branches of pale blue or white flowers. The stem is branched,erect and wiry and often reddish near the base.It is herbaceous and biennial in nature. in the first year the plant produces a rosette of basal,slender spatulate foliage. It is only in the second year that the plant produces one or more flowering stalks. On the flowering stalks the leaves are linear and arranged alternately. They have no stalks and the margins have somewhat rounded teeth.

The flower itself has a fused calxy anf five triangular lobes. the corolla ia also five lobed with five violet-blue {occasionally white} petals the petals are longer than they are wide. They flower from June until September.

Individual flowers. Courtesy of H Zell.  CC BY-SA 3.0 License.

Distribution of the spreading bellflower. UK conservation concerns.

This species is native to the temperate parts of Europe. However, in the UK it is rare in the wild.It occurs in England and Wales . Scottish reports are from plants that have been introduced. Thus the Species Action Plan {SAP} only refers to England  and Wales. They have a restricted distribution along with historical decline. In England they are found on thw Welsh borders and in the west Midlands.


Actions Identified by experts. ----To Undertake autecolgical  research and field investigation to determine patterns of and reasons behind, loss, spread and movement in the ladscape. Any results must be transformed into practicle management advise aimed at restoring populations.

Known populations to be surveyed periodically.

To assertain what habitat management can benefit this plant through the Habitat Action Plans  {HAPS}.. The priority habitats for this species are Boundary Features -Hedgerows. Woodland Broad-leaved. Lowland mixed deciduous woodland.

In the UK it is classed as being a species of Prinicipal importance, for the purpose of conserving biodiversity.

They are plants found on sunny banks and on the sides of tracks,roadsides and lanes especially in deciduous open woodland. Populations are small  and often transistory. It is a species that prefers dry,well drained, fairly infertile sandy or gravelly soil.

Growing on the verge of a Barley field In Finland. Courtesy QWerk CC BY -SA 3.0 License

Key threats in the UK. Courtesy of Plantlife.

Changes in woodland management, such as the cessation of coppicing and other disturbance, along with increased use of herbicides on roadsides and railway banks. it is hoped that the species action plan alongside the habitat action plan will help to ensure the future of this delicate plant.

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