Campanula rapunculus
Common Name: rampion
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Campanulaceae
Native Range: Europe, northern Africa
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to August
Bloom Description: Lilac blue or white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual, Herb, Vegetable
Flower: Showy

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Full sun is best in cool northern summer climates. Prefers part shade in hot summer climates. Needs regular moisture. This is a biennial plant (two year plant life with foliage in the first year followed by flowers and seeds in the second year) which is usually grown in herb or vegetable gardens as an annual for harvest of its swollen fleshy roots (used like radishes) and young leaves (used like spinach). Overwintered plants are winter hardy to USDA Zones 4-8.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Campanula rapunculus, commonly known as rampion, is a hairy biennial which grows to 2-3’ tall. It is native to Europe, North Africa, and western Asia. Leaves are 1-4” long. Lower basal leaves are stalked, ovate to obovate, and slightly toothed. Upper stem leaves are stalkless, lanceolate and mostly toothless. Nodding, open, bell-shaped to funnel-shaped, upward facing, 5-lobed, lilac blue or white flowers bloom in erect, loose, long, terminal racemes atop slender, upright, leafy flowering stems rising well above the basal foliage clump to 2-3’ tall. Each flower (to 1-2” long) has calyx lobes almost as long as the corolla. Second year flowers bloom July to August with seeds ripening August to September.

The Brothers Grimm fairy tale known as Rapunzel (first edition written in 1812) is a story about a child who was given up to a sorceress in repayment of a prior unpaid debt created by the child’s father who was caught stealing edible roots (presumably the roots of the within plant) from the garden of the sorceress.

Genus name comes from the Latin campana meaning bell in reference to the bell-shaped flowers.

Specific epithet is a diminutive of the Latin word rapa (turnip) and means “little turnip” in reference to the turnip-like shape of the plant roots.

Common name of rampion comes from the specific epithet.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Snails and slugs are occasional problems.

Garden Uses

Herb garden. Vegetable garden. Borders.