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(Campanula rotundifolia )

Harebell © Beth Halski

Harebell © Beth Halski

"The azured hare-bell, like thy veins..."

- William Shakespeare, Cymbeline


With its papery petals and delicate appearance, you might think the harebell a rather fragile wild flower. In fact, it's incredibly tough and resilient. It needs to be given the environment it grows in: the harebell is a wild flower of dry, open places from the bare slopes of hills to the windswept coast. 

How to spot it

Hanging blue bells on slender stalks. Grows 15-40cm tall. Roundish leaves at base, very narrow linear leaves up stem. (Source: the National Plant Monitoring Scheme Species Identification Guide).

Where it grows

Dry, grassy places.

Best time to see

July to September.

Cultural info

  • It is the County Flower of Dumfriesshire, Yorkshire and County Antrim.
  • In the Language of Flowers it stands for childhood, grief, humility, and submission.

How's it doing?

Generally stable although there have been some local declines at the edges of its range.

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3 things you may not know

  • The harebell is called the bluebell of Scotland (although a different species to the bluebell more famous south of the border). It is also known as the cuckoo's shoe, witch bells or old man's bell - the 'old man' being the devil himself.
  • Dreaming about harebells is said to symbolise true love.
  • In County Antrim it is a fairy plant, mearacan puca, the goblin's (or Puck's) thimble. Pick it at your peril.