Author Topic: Bellflowers (Campanula species)  (Read 281 times)

Johann Kuntz

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Bellflowers (Campanula species)
« on: 2022-01-09, 08:02:11 PM »
Campanula species include a lot of edibles in terms of leafy greens (although many are too small or fuzzy to be worthwhile).  I've been trialing various selections and so far have found the ornamental hybrid selection called C. × 'Sarastro' to be very tasty with a flavor like snow peas when the young leaves are briefly blanched in boiling water. 

One species I've been growing to see how I like as an edible is Campanula trachelium (of which I have many seedlings).  Unfortunately I've found the actual leaf yield per plant to be a little disappointing since they send up flower stems a bit too early in the season to provide a very long window of leafy harvest from their basal rosettes of leaves.  That said, if one wanted to allow enough space for them to become a self seeding patch (this is a type that does not spread vegetively, but only colonizes by seed despite being perennial) they could probably still be worthwhile as a foragable "wildflower", but not for someone tight on space. 

Today, while doing some garden clean up I was shocked to see that while the Campanula trachelium seedlings had gone fully dormant for winter some time back, this one single seedling popped out at me because it was in full leaf as if it had no concept of what dormant even means.  Not only is this seedling not even slightly dormant, but we just came through a couple weeks of freezing weather with lots of snow which is only just now almost all melted.  I'm not sure yet if this single seedling represents an accidental hybrid or if it's a lucky genetic mutation, but I've been growing this batch of seedlings for two years now and so far have had no reason to suspect any of the batch were anything but pure C. trachelium.  I have up-potted this seedling to a larger pot to see what it's capable of once given a little care.  I'm very excited about the possibility of having a clonal selection which could provide a small winter harvest of greens so I'll be evaluating whether it can propagate well clonally via division as well as experimenting with it as a seed parent.

In the attached picture all empty looking pots on the ground under the leafy seeding I'm holding are its siblings of the same age.