It’s a weed!

Creeping bellflower

This pretty lilac-coloured flower is very hard to get rid of as it spreads from root and seed.

Each year, one plant can produce over 3,000 seeds, says As it is a noxious weed, Albertans are required by law to control it. It can be found in some wildflower mixes, so only buy wildflower mixes which list the contents. says, “native harebells can be confused with creeping bellflower as the flowers are quite similar, but the native plants can be distinguished by either much shorter stems, smaller flowers and leaf size and shape.”

Creeping bellflower’s “erect stems are often purplish, can be hairy or smooth, and grow to one metre or more.

“Leaves are alternate, 3-7 cm long. Lower leaves are long-stalked and heart-shaped with coarsely-toothed margins. Upper leaves are sessile (without a stalk) and lance-shaped with some hairs on the lower surface.

“Nodding light purple flowers are borne in the axils of the upper leaves and occur mainly along one side of the stem. Flowers are composed of five united petals.

“The fruit is a round capsule, containing numerous small, elliptical, light brown seeds with small wings. Seeds may be spread by wind because of their light weight and wings. Each plant can produce 3,000 or more seeds annually.”

Pulling and bagging the plant before it blooms stops seed production, but it will come back from the roots. Digging out the root system is the only way to remove it, but this takes years.

Cultivation spreads it, animals won’t eat it, and there is no herbicide registered for it in Canada.

Creeping bellflower – an invasive weed.
Harebells – a native wildflower.

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