Campanula uniflora : Arctic 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: uniflora (Lat. unus=one + flos=flower = one flowered)

English Name(s):

Arctic Bellflower, Arctic Harebell/Bluebell

First Nation Names:



  • Plants 5-30cm high, from elongate rhizomes (underground stems).
  • Stems solitary or few together, glabrous (not hairy), rather stout, decumbent to erect.


Reproductive Parts:

  • Flowers alway ssolitary slightly noding when in bloom.
  • Calyx (united-sepals) pubescent (hairy), lance-attenuate in shape, with margins entire (smooth).
  • Corolla (united-petals) funnel-shape, pale blue, 4-8mm in diameter by 4-10mm long. Lobes about as long as the tube and slightly longer than the calyx lobes.
  • Anthers (male parts) 1-2mm long.


  • Fruit is a many seeded capsule.
  • Capsule obconic (club-shaped) and nodding.

Not to Be Confused With:

  • C.lasiocarpa (Alpine Bellflower) has toothed leaves and larger flowers that distiguish it from C.uniflora.



  • 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.
  • Has a short blooming period.
  • Finished blooming by mid-July on dry alpine slopes.


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).


  • Dry stonyridges in tundra and heath.
  • Calcariousgravelly screes and cliffs.






      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.





                    Plant in early bloom

                    Flower top view

                    Illustration from: Illustrated Flora of BC

                    Range Maps

                    World Range: Circumpolar; wide-ranging high-arctic-alpine, with large gaps in Asia; in N.A. GL and LB to AK, disjunct southward

                    Prov/State Abrev. List

                    In Yukon: Found mostly in the British, Richardson, Ogilvie, and St.Elias Mountains.

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