Creeping Rampion (Campanula rapunculoides)

Creeping Rampion (Campanula rapunculoides)

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Description

Creeping rampion or bell-flower is a tall perennial herb, with heart-shaped leaves, and attractive, bluey-purple, bell-shaped (campanulate) flowers, which was, at one point, very popular in cottage-style gardens. As well as an excellent ornamental, however, it is also a very versatile, multi-use vegetable.

The tender young leaves collected in spring can, like those of most Campanulas, be eaten both raw and cooked. As the plant matures, the older, basal leaves can become chewy, but by the time these are past their prime, you can move on to harvesting the young, stem leaves or the emerging flower stalk. These appear in late spring or early summer, and make an excellent, mild, tender vegetable. The flowers, themselves, are also edible and make an attractive garnish for salads, as do the unopened buds, and both can often be collected in quantity.

Like those of the true Rampion (Campanula rapunculus), the roots are also used, typically cooked, although they are edible raw. They can be harvested from Autumn through to late Spring. Scrubbed or pealed, then boiled (some recommend using salty water), they are mild and sweet, and make an excellent vegetable, either on their own or in combination with others.

They prefer rich, moist but well drain-wed soil, in full sun or partial shade, and when grown in ideal conditions can form dense colonies. And by lifting a clump and only removing the larger, thickened roots – which can be up to an inch thick and 10 inches long (although 4-5 inches is more common) – and putting back or transplanting the smaller ones, you can maintain plants almost indefinitely.


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