Pale Bellflower

Pale BellflowerCampanula scouleri (cam-pan-you-la: little bell; scoo-ler-eye: honoring John Scouler)

Flowers several on longish stalks, nodding to ascending; corolla ¾–1″ across [20–25 mm], pale blue to white, with 5 recurved slender lobes longer than the fused portion (i.e., not very bell-shaped); 5 slender calyx lobes; 5 stamens; pistil longer than corolla, initially a “candle,” then splits into 3 stigmas; leaves sparsely toothed, egg-shaped to lanceolate, both basal and alternate; 4–16″ tall [10–40 cm].

Habitat: Outcrops or drier forests at low elevations in coastal ranges.

Natural History: Two young naturalists  disembarked at the mouth of the Columbia in 1825. They had known each other as schoolboys in Scotland. John Scouler, all of twenty years old, had been hired and shipped here as the doctor for Fort Vancouver. He made significant botanical finds along the Columbia and later on the Queen Charlotte Islands. His slightly older companion in 1825, David Douglas, had only a few years to live, but packed them so full of botanical discoveries that his name is well known today—albeit mispronounced. Scots pronounced Scouler’s name “school-er” and his friend’s name “doo-glus.” Both of them collected specimens of pale bellflower; their mentor, Sir William J. Hooker, chose to name it after Scouler, perhaps because he was already naming so many species for Douglas.

Many species of bellflower do have bell-shaped pendent flowers, but this one is a little different, with petals that spread wide and often bend somewhat backwards.

This article and photo are adapted from Northwest Mountain Wildflowers, an app for iPhone and iPod.