Reproducing by seed and by the extremely persistent, widely spreading, fleshy, whitish underground rhizomes.
Stems, when present, erect, up to 1 m high, smooth or finely hairy, usually without branches.
Leaves mostly arising singly or in clusters directly from rhizomes (a) below the ground surface (b), these long-stalked and called "radical" leaves (root leaves); the blades round to nearly heart-shaped at the base, ovate, pointed towards the tip, irregularly toothed, usually finely hairy (c); leaves on developing stems alternate (1 per node), similar to radical leaves but stalks progressively shorter and blades smaller, less heart-shaped and more regularly toothed; uppermost leaves (d) narrow and stalkless.
Flowers in elongating racemes at the ends of the stems, blue, bell-shaped, 2 - 3 cm across, ending in 5 uniform points (e); flower stalks frequently curved and giving the whole inflorescence an attractive 1-sided appearance; seedpods (f) formed below the calyx and corolla, somewhat spherical containing many very fine seeds. Flowers from June until autumn.
Creeping bellflower occurs throughout Ontario in lawns, gardens, fence lines, roadsides, waste places and occasionally in cultivated fields. It is sometimes planted in ornamental gardens but spreads into adjacent areas by underground rhizomes as well as by seed and is a very persistent weed.
Non-flowering plants are distinguished by their many heart-shaped, irregular toothed leaves arising from at or below the ground surface, the whitish, fleshy rhizomes and tubers and the characteristic bell-shaped blue flowers of flowering plants.
A. Stemless plant with cluster of radical leaves from upturned rhizome. B. Basal leaves and short leafy stem from horizontal rhizome. C. Top of flowering stem.
Creeping bellflower along roadside in central Ontario, mid-July.
Bellflower stem with new flowers.
The elongated raceme of creeping bellflower
Blue-purple bell-shaped flower.
Toothed leaf of creeping bellflower.
Stem of creeping bellflower.