Synonyms: Other names: common harebell Nomenclature: rotundifolia = round leaved (basal) Nativity / Invasiveness: Montana native plant
General: perennial with a slenderly branched root crown or system of rhizomes arising from an eventual taproot, 10-50 cm tall, hairless or with inconspicuous bristly hairs.
Leaves: several, the edges smooth or with some short, stiff hairs up to 0.2 mm long. Basal leaves long-stalked, sometimes with broadly ovate to rounded, angular-toothed blades up to 2 cm long, often withering soon. Stem leaves alternate, more or less numerous, narrower and more elongate, commonly linear or nearly so, mostly 1.5-8 cm long and seldom as much as 1 cm wide.
Flowers: typically several in a lax, open cluster, solitary in stunted or subalpine specimens, the flowers erect or nodding. Calyx lobes 4-12 mm long, usually entire. Corolla blue, 15-30 mm long, the 5 lobes much shorter than the tube. Style equaling or generally shorter than the corolla. Anthers 4.5-6.5 mm long.
Fruits: capsules, nodding, broadly inversely conic to narrowly cup-shaped, 5-8 mm long, opening by pores near the base.
In a wide variety of habitats, plains to subalpine, in most parts of MT. Circumboreal, but not at high latitudes, extending s. in the mountains to TX, n. Mexico, and n. CA. Easily cultivated, but apt to become somewhat weedy.
The leaves of common harebell are edible raw or cooked.
The root of common harebell was used medicinally by the Cree Indians among others. It was chewed in the treatment of heart and lung problems. An infusion of the roots has been used as ear drops for a sore ear by the Chippewa Indians. The Thompson Indians used a decoction of the plant to be drunk or used as a wash in the treatment of sore eyes.
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