Monday mystery plant: Iron Range Edition

Posted on July 30th, 2007 – 10:13 AM
By Jaime Chismar

Greengirls has just received an S.O.S from a gardener in the north country. Al from Soudan has himself quite a head-scratcher. He writes:

A friend and I seem to be the only ones in the Lake Vermilion area to have this flower…and we have no idea what it is. We would love to know because people ‘oh’ and ‘ah’ and makes us feel guilty that we don’t label things in our gardens.

We are strong people here on the Iron Range — If it’s a weed, we can handle the truth.

Wow. We are flattered that such stoic people would ask for our help. I sent Al an email to make double dog-gone sure that a blog post about his mystery plant would not damage his Iron Range street cred.

Do it… My friend, who also has the mystery plant, had on display at Erickson’s Hardware Hank in downtown beautiful Tower. No one knew or even came forward. Do what you will.

So what is the answer to this Iron Range riddle? If you are the first GG reader to correctly identify Al’s mystery plant, we’ll send you a mystery prize.

Good luck!

9 Responses to "Monday mystery plant: Iron Range Edition"

Judy says:

July 30th, 2007 at 10:54 am

It looks like campanula glomerata.

Tracy says:

July 30th, 2007 at 11:46 am

Very weird. I posted this as a mystery plant on my July 28th blog entry:

My commenters agreed with Judy, it’s campanula glomerata, clustered bellflower.

Nan says:

July 30th, 2007 at 1:30 pm

I was given a clump of this a couple of years ago, my benefactor just calling it Glomerata. I planted in shade, but wonder if they would have stronger stems if in more sun?

Jaime Chismar says:

July 30th, 2007 at 3:03 pm

How weird!!! Al sent me the flower pic last week. If Glomerata is in blooom right now, it makes sense that folks would have it on the brain!

Judy says:

July 31st, 2007 at 1:07 pm

Hi again,

My campanula glomerata is a pass along plant, too. I got it from an elderly couple who used to live near Eagle Bend, MN. They used to operate a greenhouse business and had beautiful gardens and a very small chapel in their yard. It seated either 6 or 12 people. I’ve heard it has been moved to a park in Eagle Bend. Also, in regard to the mystery plant, there is a desciption of campanula glomerata in Rodale’s Illustrated Enclyclopedia of Perennials, if anyone wants to read about it.

Alison says:

August 1st, 2007 at 10:00 am

The ‘Joan Elliot’ campanula glomerata (which is what the photo appears to be of)is a stunning plant, but it can be very difficult to control once it’s established. “Vigorous” would be a euphemism; “invasive” might be more accurate. Both my mom in northeastern North Dakota and I, here in Minneapolis, finally pulled them out entirely to stop the spreading.

Catherine says:

August 3rd, 2007 at 9:48 am

I think you may actually have campanula cervicaria here (bristly bellflower), not campanula glomerata. Are the stems bristly? If so, you’ve got c. cervicaria. It’s misidentified in some guide books as c. glomerata. It’s an escaped European garden flower. If it turns out to be cervicaria, you might want to tell David Schimpf at UMD.

Al says:

August 3rd, 2007 at 2:36 pm

Te saluto! Vos saluto!
I love the fact that I have a campanula glomerta. Ego tibi gratias maximas ago
I am trying to remember when I went to my local green house and said, “Audi! uno campanula glomerta.” or how ever one says, “Give me one of those blue flowers,” in Latin.
Raised by strict, strict Lutherans I was not allowed to learn Latin. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa ,licet-ne?
Te quaeso.
How would that plant have been labeled at ‘Linder’s’ say for a just regular run of the mill, I let my subscription to Horticulture lapse when I saw what Roger Swain looked like on PBS and I think my mother had the plant gardener?
The stems are bristly!!!! Who is David Schimpf at UMD?

Al in Soudan

Catherine says:

August 3rd, 2007 at 6:14 pm

David Schimpf is a botany guy. Teaches at U of M Duluth. Interested in escaped garden flowers. He wrote a paper on bristly bellflower showing up near Duluth. That was the 1st North American record of it, as far as I know, so he might be excited about yours. You can find him online.