The Bellflower Family

Fairy Lobelia Blue Star Creeper Sheep's-bit Fairy Lobelia

What are they?

The bellflowers form the bulk of the family Campanulaceae and are covered on their own page. This page covers other members of the bellflower family, which form a rather varied group of mostly low, creeping or trailing, plants with blue or blue-purple flowers.

Where are they found?

This is quite a diverse bunch of plants and habitat choice can be useful in the identification process. Some are of garden origin and may be found growing in urban environments, especially from cracks in walls and pavements. Others may turn up on waste ground, grassy places or roadsides. Our native species are plants of arable farmland and acidic grasslands.

Identification

Most species can be identified by a combination of flower shape (especially how deeply divided the petals are) and leaf shape, as well as the overall appearance of the plant - whether it is upright or trailing, single-stemmed or forming colonies.



Sheep's-bit      Jasione montana

Native in acid grassland. Very local in East Anglia, being mostly confined to Breckland and coastal dunes and heaths. Flowers May to September. A tiny plant that may be easily overlooked in rough grass but for its button of bright blue, five-petalled flowers, carried in a tightly clustered head.

Sheep's-bit Sheep's-bit Sheep's-bit Sheep's-bit
Habit
Habit
Flowers
Flowers
Sheep's-bit Sheep's-bit Sheep's-bit
Sepals
Stem and leaves
Leaf


Common Venus's-looking-glass      Legousia hybrida

Native. Widespread on poorer soils, mostly in Norfolk and the west of the region. Found as an annual on field margins and cultivated land. Flowers May to August. A tiny and easily overlooked plants with violet flowers, 2-3mm across, that open in full sun.

Common Venus's-looking-glass Common Venus's-looking-glass Common Venus's-looking-glass Common Venus's-looking-glass
Habit
Flowers
Basal leaf
Stem leaf
Common Venus's-looking-glass Common Venus's-looking-glass
Seed capsules
Seed capsules


Fairy Lobelia      Lobelia erinus

Introduced from South Africa as a garden annual and commonly grown as a trailing plant in hanging baskets or in its compact forms as annual bedding. Regularly found self-seeding into pavement cracks and disturbed ground. Flowers May to October or until first frosts. Tiny but very show plants, grown in a wide range of blues, purple/pinks and white.

Fairy Lobelia Fairy Lobelia Fairy Lobelia Fairy Lobelia
Habit
Flowers
Flower
Flower
Fairy Lobelia Fairy Lobelia Fairy Lobelia Fairy Lobelia
Flower
Flower
Flower
Leaf


Blue Star Creeper      Lobelia pedunculata

Introduced from Australia as a garden ornamental and now appearing at scattered places throughout the region, though mostly in cultivated lawns where it does not get recorded in botanical atlas projects. Flowers July to September. A tiny, creeping perennial that may easily go unnoticed until the bright, pale bluish-mauve flowers appear. Very similar to Lobelia angulata (which is in cultivation but not yet recorded as a garden escape in East Anglia) but differs from that species in its hairy leaves.

Blue Star Creeper Blue Star Creeper Blue Star Creeper Blue Star Creeper
Habit
Flower
Leaves and stem
Leaf