The nettle-leaved bellflower (Campanula trachelium L., 1753) is a perennial herbaceous species belonging to the Campanulaceae family.
From a systematic point of view, it belongs to the Eukaryota Domain, Plantae Kingdom, Subregion Tracheobionta, Spermatophyta Superdivision, Magnoliophyta Division, Magnoliopsida Class, Asteridae Subclass, Campanulales Order, Campanulaceae Family, Campanuloideae Subfamily and therefore to the Genus Campanula and the Species C. trachelium.
The following subspecies are recognized for this species:
– Campanula trachelium subsp. athoa (Boiss. & Heldr.) Hayek;
– Campanula trachelium subsp. Mauritanian (Pomel) Quézel (with distribution in western Mediterranean Africa);
– Campanula trachelium subsp. trachelium.
The term Campanula is the diminutive of campána: campanella.
The specific epithet trachelium comes from the genus Trachelium, in turn derived from the Greek τρἀχηλος tráchelos throat, neck: ancient name of a plant used for the treatment of sore throat, and as a change from generic name to epithet for the modification of the rank systematic.
Geographical Distribution and Habitat –
The nettle-leaved bellflower is a plant distributed throughout Europe, western and northern Asia, Japan, northern Africa and northern America.
In Italy it is somewhat common but is absent in Sardinia. It is found everywhere in the Alps and on other European reliefs connected to the Alps, in the Black Forest, Vosges, Jura Massif, Massif Central, Pyrenees, Balkan Mountains and Carpathians, with an altitude distribution ranging from the plain to 1500 m above sea level.
Its preferred habitat is sparse deciduous forests or areas with bushes or shrubs, but also on the edges of paths and roads where it grows preferentially on both limestone and siliceous substrate with neutral pH, medium nutritional values of the soil which must be moderately humid.
The Campanula trachelium is a seretta, hairy perennial herbaceous species that grows between 30 and 100 cm.
The stem is erect, angular, green in color suffused with red.
The basal leaves are long petiolate, with a heart-shaped lamina, cauline with winged and progressively shorter petiole, lanceolate or almost triangular lamina, roughly toothed margin.
The flowers are showy collected in a simple or branchy inflorescence, with bell-shaped corolla, 2.5-5 cm long, triangular lobes, blue-violet or rarely purple-dark or white. The calyx is greenish, with a 4 mm tube and 7-8 mm triangular teeth.
The flowering period is between June and October.
The fruit is a 6-8 x 7-8 mm poricidal capsule, ovoid, pendulous, bristling with hair.
The seeds are numerous of 0.9-1.2 x 0.6-0.7 mm, oval outline, brownish.
The nettle-leaved bellflower is a plant that grows spontaneously on both calcareous and siliceous soils.
However, it prefers a neutral pH, with average nutritional values and an average moist soil.
The propagation takes place by seed, in the autumn – winter period, while the collection period between February and April.
Uses and Traditions –
The Campanula trachelium is a systematically highly variable species especially for its wide spread and therefore for the influence of the different habitats on the plant. This variability is manifested above all in the hairiness of the leaves, of the stem, but also of the calyx of the flower.
The roots of this plant contain inulin; with the roots it is used to prepare a mouthwash for tonsillitis and inflamed throats.
Of this plant you can use: the leaves are used for salads and soups; the roots are edible.
In folk medicine he used Campanula trachelium in various ways: a decoction of sprouts for washing the ears in case of otitis and as a mild diuretic. From the boiled roots and left to soak in alcohol for a few hours, a drink was obtained which was said to alleviate stomach pain.
Furthermore, among gardeners the trachelium species is one of the most common (but also one of the most rustic) and is normally used as bed and border plants.
Preparation method –
Various parts of Campanula trachelium can be used for food purposes: the tender leaves of the basal rosette, fresh in mixed salads; boiled in soups and soups; the root, white and tender, can be used raw in a salad, boiled and seasoned with oil and vinegar or lemon, cooked as a tasty ingredient in omelettes and soups. The flowers, to be used in salads as an edible decoration.
– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Lord’s Pharmacy, Tips and experiences with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Editore
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora of Italy, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (edited by), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
Warning: Pharmaceutical applications and alimurgical uses are indicated for information purposes only, they do not in any way represent a medical prescription; therefore, no responsibility is accepted for their use for healing, aesthetic or food purposes.
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