Campanula aurita : Yukon Bellflower


Scientific Name:

Kingdom: Plantae


Class: Dicoteldonae (two seed-leaves)

Family: Campanulaceae (Bluebell Family)

Genera: Campanula (Bellflower) (Lat. diminutive of campana = bell, thus = little bell; reffering to the bell-like flowers)

Species: aurita (Lat. auritus = long ear; reffering to either the long petals or the very long style.)

English Name(s):

Yukon Bellflower, Yukon/Alaskan Harebell/Bluebell/Bellflower

First Nation Names:



  • Plants 10-30cm tall, from freely-branching rhizomes (underground stems).
  • Stmes 1 to several, slender.


  • All cauline (on stem). 0.8-3.5cm long by 0.1-0.6cm wide.
  • Glabrous (no hairs) or ciliate (hairs on margin).
  • Oblanceolate to narroly lanceolate in shape.
  • Margins entire (not toothed) to irregularily serrulate (toothed).

Reproductive Parts:

  • Flowers solitary or in few flowered racemes.
  • Corolla (petals) blue, 12-18mm long, lobes(petals) 5, nearly to the base and spreading.
  • Calyx (sepals) 5 parted, lobes lance-attenuate in shape, margins entire (smooth) or toothed at the base.
  • Anthers (male parts) 3-5mm long.


  • Fruit a many seeded capsule.
  • Capsules sub-sylindrical (cone shaped) to cylindrical.

Not to Be Confused With:

  • Is distinguished from the other Campanula species in our region by it glabrous (not hairy) sepals.



  • The anthers (male parts) open inwards when the style is still unreceptive and deposit thier pollen on the middle of the style (female part) where it is held in a thick covering of hairs. After the anthers have shriveled and fallen, the stigma (top of female part) opens into 3 lobes, ready to recieve the pollen carried from other flowers by insects.
  • If cross-pollenation does not occur, the lobes of the stygma open wider,rolling back until they come into contact withthe pollen grains sticking to the hairy style.
  • The seed capsule is very sensitive to atmospheric humidity. the slits and valves close in damp temperatures to protect the seeds inside from moisture damage.
  • The seeds are dispersed by the capsules long pedicils (stalks) which swing back and forth in strong wind broadcasting the seeds quite far.

Life Cycle:

  • Perennial

Seasonal Cycle:

  • Leaves and stems deciduous.
  • Blooming in mid-July.


Animal Uses:

  • The flower stalks, at first erect, bend down sharply just before reaching maturity so that the enterance to the flower is toward the ground. This position is unsuitable for many animals that might visit these flowers but leaves them accessible to bees and protects the pollen from rain.
  • Many small bees and wasps usefull in carrying pollen use these flowers to overnight in.
  • These flowers are visited by bumble bees and other large insects that are large enough to reach the nectar contained in a ring of special tissue a the base of the style(female part).


  • Locally common on turfy or gravelly places.
  • Perhaps always on calcareous soils.
  • Mainly alpine, open woods, slopes and rock outcrops.






      Traditional Gwich'in:





              Traditional Other:


              • According to the Victorian language of flowers, they were said to symbolize gratitude and humility.
              • The flowers were said to be used by witches as thimbles.





                    Full plant. Note hairless sepals

                    Full plant in early bloom

                    Fully opened flower

                    Very showy!

                    Leaves on the stem

                    Illustration from: Illustrated Flora of BC

                    Range Maps

                    World Range: North America; endemic to interior and mainly alpine parts of AK, YT, NT. Mostly in west central Yukon.

                    Prov/State Abrev. List

                    In Yukon: Mainly in West-Central Yukon and disjunct to extreme S.E.

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