Can you identify these?

prairiemoon2 z6 MAApril 24, 2014

These are the one plant in my garden that I haven't been able to get rid of yet and I think I've been too easy on it. It was here when we moved in. This year I want to get serious about it and I thought it would help to get a definite identification. I haven't let it flower for years, so I don't have a photo of it when in bloom, but it looks like Adenophora or Campanula to me. Grows to about 3ft tall.

I've tried a lot of digging, heavy mulching, cutting off the foliage at the ground repeatedly, so far it just keeps coming back.

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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

And here's a second photo. We dug this whole area out, laid down a heavy mulch with cardboard under it and there were fewer last year, but here they are back again this spring.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 10:09AM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

I don't recognize your plant, but when I have had similar problems I dug up the soil and strained it through a 1/2 inch or smaller hardware cloth to remove root nodules that get left behind and regrow next year. Al

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 10:44AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

It looks a fair bit like Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica). If that's what it is, it does spread by seeding and roots. It goes dormant after it blooms. It's a woodland plant and I have it under the oak combined with other woodland things like Solomon's Seal. I like it.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 10:45AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

No, not Mertensia, Woody, I have that and it's about a foot high in bloom and this plant gets about 3ft tall. Thanks for the try. I do like that plant and wish I had more of it.

I went through a lot of my old photos today and I still couldn't come up with one of them when it was in bloom. But I did find one when it was just about ready to bloom. Hopefully this offers a better view of it.

And Al, that's a good idea. One that I haven't tried. Thanks.

Edit: And this photo was taken when Baptisia was blooming, beginning of June.

This post was edited by prairiemoon2 on Thu, Apr 24, 14 at 14:11

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 2:08PM
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Upper pictures look like the way invasive campanulas spread.

Lower: a campanula?

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 2:36PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Maybe Campanula rotundifolia (Blue Bells of Scotland)? That certainly looks to be a vigorous spreader and somewhat similar to your pictures.... - but the leaves and stems on yours look too thick. Your plant looks familiar but I can't bring to mind what it is! Have you tried the 'name that plant' forum?

This post was edited by woodyoak on Thu, Apr 24, 14 at 15:16

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 3:11PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

The flowers are different then that rotundifolia, but google images for invasive campanulas, brought up Campanula rapunculoides which looks more like what my flowers look like. I think this is it….unfortunately!!!

Looks like it is pretty difficult to get rid of, which explains a lot….

Creeping Bellflower, a European import popular in the garden industry, readily escapes cultivation and can quickly become invasive, spreading both from seed (up to 15,000 per plant!) as well as its root system.

"Creeping Bellflower is not easy to eradicate because it has extensive tap roots and thread like shoots that arise from the taproot. These threads weave their way through the soil horizontally emerging at the soil surface and produce a tidy cluster of heart-shaped basal leaves. In a site with soils that aren’t compacted, tap roots can be as much as 2 feet below the soil surface.

And here is what one gardener said she did to try to eradicate it…

The two methods I used were smothering these invasive plants with heavy paper and wood mulch in areas where the soil was drier and the plants were more sparsely spaced. This essentially killed off many of the various clusters of plants that were growing from a small thread. WITHIN TWO YEARS [yikes], clusters that reemerged through the paper were almost all right above the taproot. This then made it easy to carefully dig the taproot out and all of the small ‘threads’. If you leave any part of the taproot or threads then you will have a new cluster of leaves regrow within a couple of months.

The other method of dealing with these invasive plants was simply a lot of digging. On the south side of our house where the Bellflower was interspersed with natives, I WORKED FOR THREE YEARS DIGGING OUT TAPROOTS AND THREADS, following the fine threads deeper into the soil until I found the taproot. I would go through the area digging in the spring. Whatever I missed would reemerge in the fall, the soil in many of these spots loosened from the digging made it easier to pull out the offending piece of root system. Once satisfied I had removed 95% of the Creeping Bellflower, we then were able to start work on planting in this area to restore it. It would have been a huge mistake to plant here before the Creeping Bellflower was eradicated as it interweaves with plants, and seems to love newly disturbed loose soil to spread into.

Note: Treating Creeping Bellflower with herbicides is ineffective because of the reserves that are stored in the taproot. It may kill off a few clusters but new ones will reemerge.

My plants are not quite this good looking, but very similar. And the behavior of the plant definitely seems to be as described.

I will post to the Name that Plant forum too, just to see if I can get a firm confirmation. Thanks.

This post was edited by prairiemoon2 on Thu, Apr 24, 14 at 16:21

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 4:13PM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

Definitely not C rotundifolia - that's a lovely, delicate little thing just a few inches high.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 4:46PM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

I vote for Adenophora stricta (or something similar).

Some of this hitchhiked into my garden with a peony dug from my parents garden. I eventually got rid of it simply by hacking off the foliage every time I saw it resprouting. It took 2-3 years, but it's gone. Persistence is the key. If you it see it resprout in a week, chop it off - repeat, repeat, repeat etc.


    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 4:59PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I seem to remember this conversation last year. I did a search to come up with the old thread, but couldn't find it.

The problem to me, is that the Adenophora stricta and the Campanula rapunculoides look so much alike. I think it was Campanula who explained that there was some way to tell the two apart, but I don't remember. Maybe she will check in.

Thanks Kevin, they do look very much alike and I haven't been able to narrow it down. Maybe I don't have to, it seems either way it's going to be a lot of work to get it out. We did try cutting that back last summer. I cut it the whole summer right up to Fall and didn't do one bit of good. It's like the energizer bunny.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 5:51PM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

If I remember correctly, there a difference between the 2 in the stem. Maybe the campanula is more rounded and the adenophora more square sided? But I think that may only be noticeable on the more mature stem. For some reason that seems to ring some bell in my very tired brain. I'll check one of my books later on.


    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 6:56PM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

Disregard. I was wrong about the stems.

From 'Hortus Third'

"Adenophora - Probably not more than 40 ssp. of hardy,, summer blooming per. herbs, native to Eurasia and Japan; often confused with Campanula and differing only in the presence of a tubular or glandular disk surrounding the base of the style beneath the expanded stamen filaments.

The taxonomy of Adenophora is poorly understood and plants offered under a species name are for the most part not correctly identified. "

OK. Got it??


    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 7:50PM
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I feel quite certain you have creeping bellflower. Seriously grubbing out the roots, including the deeper parts, does work. But it will require attention to seedlings and re-sprouts! The roots and spring shoots are edible-- harvest them to death!

Here is a link that might be useful: Friends School Plant Sale

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 7:57PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Thanks Kevin, I got a response over at the Name That Plant forum and someone offered a link to where they described how to pull the petals off the flower and disect the bulb at the base and see if there is another bulb or a flat disc. So I guess if I want to be positive, I'll have to let one of them flower this year.

Henry, thanks for that encouragement, we'll give it a good try this season and see if we can't put a dent in them. Thanks for that link.

Here is a link that might be useful: How to tell difference between Campanula and Adenophora

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 10:07PM
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