The bellflower, or Campanula, is a flowering plant in the Campanulaceae family. Many knows it for its striking shape and colors, and it can be found in most corners of the world.
The bellflower is more than just a charming bloom. It has a vibrant history that’s filled with cultural meaning, fascinating symbolism, and in the present day, it has several practical uses, too.
Keen to find out more about the bellflower? Keep scrolling to view our comprehensive guide.
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What Does The Bellflower Mean?
The bellflower carries a range of complex symbolic meanings. In some cultures, this flower symbolizes gratitude, while others believe it’s synonymous with vanity, support, romance, and even constancy.
It is a varied flower. Although it’s usually purple, it also comes in other colors such as pink, blue, and white. The color of the flower can alter its meaning significantly, as we’ll explore later.
While the meaning of the bellflower can vary between cultures, some interpretations of its symbolism remain constant. Predominantly, these are its associations with eternal love and affection. This makes it a beautifully apt gift for someone you care about.
Etymological Meaning Of The Bellflower
To explore the history of the bellflower, we first have to understand its etymological meaning. To clarify, we’ll look at the words “bell” and “flower” separately.
The noun “bell” comes from the late 14th century, meaning “attach a bell to”. It’s thought that the word first became popularized in the 14th century with the story of the mice that undertook to ‘bell the cat’ (meaning, to hear the cat coming).
The word “flower” comes from the 12th-century noun “flower” to mean “be vigorous, prosper, thrive”. In the 13th century, it meant “to blossom” and grew to mean to “adorn or cover with flowers” around 1570.
The Latin name for the bellflower, “Campanula,” simply means “little bell.” As the name suggests, this describes the bellflower’s appearance perfectly, which is a small bell.
Symbolism Of The Bellflower
Now, let’s explore some of the most influential symbolism of the bellflower below.
The bellflower is a universal symbol of everlasting love and constancy. This meaning is believed to have stemmed from 1 Corinthians 13, where it symbolically represent love as a melodious, eternal ring.
Tranquility And Healing
This flower is also closely associated with healing and tranquility. It’s thought that this is due to the plant’s healing properties; its root contains platycodon and saponin, which are used to treat many ailments.
It can also symbolize spiritual healing due to its associations with kindness, joy, and growth.
The Campanula or bellflower can also be symbolic of success and wealth, largely due to the colors of the flower. Purple is its most common color, closely associates with success, wealth, and royalty.
If you’re looking for a way to express your platonic love to a close friend, the bellflower can be a beautiful gift to send their way. It is an ethereal, meaningful gift that any recipient will love.
The bellflower is also a wonderful flower for celebrating happiness in your own life or someone else’s. Many associates it with joy and happiness; this flower blooms from late spring until early fall.
It frequently appears in the wild during these joyous seasons and offers a distinctive burst of color at the beginning of the colder months.
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The bellflower is also used to symbolize gratitude. It’s believed that this meaning stems from the Victorian era, when they commonly give it as a thank you gift to friends, family, and romantic partners.
Bellflower Color Meanings
The bellflower has an abundance of symbolic meanings. However, these can change according to the color of the flower.
So, let’s take a look at the most common colors of this flower and how these can change its interpretation.
Pink is often associated with love and romance. A pink bellflower can be the perfect symbol of everlasting love and even platonic love because pink also has deeper associations with kindness, compassion, and nurturance.
In many cultures, white symbolizes innocence, purity, and spirituality. It can also be associated with grief and sympathy. For example, the white bellflower was popular with the Victorians, who used it in bouquets and flower arrangements to express gratitude.
Although this display of gratitude continues, it can also represent the meanings above, such as sympathy or spirituality.
The blue and purple bellflowers are the most common among their species. Blue is usually associated with the sea and the sky.
This makes it an excellent color to represent freedom, open spaces, inspiration, imagination, and even intuition.
This makes the blue bellflower a powerful symbol of spiritual development, healing, and success.
The color purple has a rich history. This color has been associated with bravery, romance, wisdom, and even spirituality for years.
Most commonly, though, purple is seen as an indicator of wealth and success. This makes the bellflower an excellent way to celebrate success or even attract it.
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Meaningful Botanical Characteristics Of The Bellflower
The bellflower has around 2,400 species, predominantly herbaceous, and many mainly use them as ornamental flowers in gardens.
It grows worldwide, including in the South and East of England, Scotland, North America, Western Siberia, and Western Asia.
The bellflower can grow in various conditions; however, they prefer moisture-retentive soils, and they thrive in either the sun or partial shade.
These plants are cold-hardy, and can survive living in cooler temperatures. However, warm days and cool nights provide the best growing conditions.
These plants are beautiful and easy to grow. However, they have a darker side. The creeping bellflower is one of the most invasive plants in the world.
In Ireland, the creeping bellflower can crowd out and destroy some native plants that have grown there for centuries. This has helped the bellflower adopt some powerful connotations with strength and perseverance, but it’s not so good for your garden.
The creeping bellflower can regenerate by seed. This makes it incredibly easy to spread and send its roots into every piece of available space. This can make the bellflower incredibly difficult to control.
The bellflower comes in a variety of colors. But people most commonly recognized it for its trumpet-shaped flowers and impressively tall stems.
Special Occasions For The Bellflower
Not only does the bellflower make a beautiful addition to any garden border, but it can also make a wonderful gift to express gratitude or spruce up any living space.
So let’s explore some of the most appropriate gifting occasions for the bellflower.
Romantic Display Or Wedding
The bellflower associates with an everlasting love. As a result, it can make a great addition to any wedding bouquet or date night flower display.
The bellflower may not have as much color variety as other flowers, but it still has plenty of options to choose from. Whatever your color preference, there’s an option to suit every taste.
Thank You Gift
Are you looking for the perfect way to express your gratitude? Why not consider the bellflower? For decades, this flower has been symbolic of gratitude and thanks.
If you need to let someone know you’re thankful, giving them a beautiful bellflower display can be an excellent way to do it.
It’s not unusual to receive a flower as a birthday gift. The bellflower is not symbolic of any particular birth month, making it a versatile gift to give.
The bellflower also has a diverse range of symbolic meanings; from spirituality to gratitude and healing, this could be a great gift to complement the personality of your loved one.
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Bellflower Cultural Significance
Do you want to learn more about the bellflower? Let’s take a closer look at its cultural significance.
The Victorians used the bellflower to express gratitude. They also used it to convey romantic feelings or attractions.
In Ancient Rome, the bellflower linked to Venus and vanity. Venus was a Roman goddess who was symbolic of fertility, love, sex, desire, and beauty.
They believed Venus have a magical mirror that could reveal the most beautiful things in the world. One day, Venus lost the mirror, and a shepherd found it who kept it for his own.
When Venus asked her son Cupid to find the mirror for her and found it with the shepherd, he shot it from the man’s hand.
The mirror then broke into hundreds of pieces, which gave it the name of “The Venus Looking Glass Bellflower” because of its abundance of tiny, shiny seeds.
For Christians, the bellflower directly attributes to gratitude. This symbolism comes from Christian myth, where people dedicated Harebells from the Campanula family to St. Dominic.
St.Dominic was an ascetic Christian monk who discovered the Dominican order of the church. Some features of the bellflower, such as its foliage and ‘bowing’ flowers, are reminiscent of St. Dominic’s focus.
Now that we’ve learned more about the history and cultural significance of the bellflower, let’s take some time to explore some of the most important facts about the bellflower.
- Bellflowers vary in size. Some are under 5 centimeters tall, while others reach up to 2 meters.
- The leaves of the bellflower also vary in shape. In most cases, they feature larger and broader leaves at the stem and smaller and narrower leaves near the top of the flower.
- Most bellflowers contain white latex in their leaves and stems.
- For the bellflower, peak bloom is in early to midsummer. However, with efficient deadheading, the bellflower can bloom sporadically in the summer and fall.
- The bellflower can function as a houseplant and copes well with indoor climates.
- Bellflowers need moist but well-drained soil, ideally mixed with organic matter to thrive.
- In Northern Italy, the bellflower can form a natural hanging basket over existing rock formations. These are said to be reminiscent of Rapunzel’s hair, which hung from the window.
Now we’ve explored the history and significance of the bellflower, let’s take a closer look at some of its practical uses.
Traditional Chinese medicine commonly used the Chinese bellflower. The bellflower can suppress a cough and reduce the symptoms associated with common colds, sore throats, chest congestion, and tonsilitis.
Russians used this plant as a cure for hydrophobia in Russia.
In most cases, the bellflower is for decorative purposes. It can make a beautiful addition to almost any garden border or living space, and with several colors to choose from, there’s a species of bellflower to suit almost any color scheme.
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Although their flowers are almost tasteless, many use it to garnish a range of dishes, cakes, and even salads. The leaves of the bellflower have a mild taste, but it’s said to have a refreshing after taste, which can complement many dishes.
What Is The Symbolism Of A Bellflower Tattoo?
If we asked you to picture some popular tattoo designs, you might consider an animal, a realistic portrait, or some sentimental lettering. The chances are, the bellflower wouldn’t be high on your list.
However, this flower is dripping with historical and cultural significance, and its abundance of symbolic meanings can make an ideal tattoo design to represent a range of experiences and emotions. So let’s explore the most common meanings behind the bellflower tattoo below.
The bellflower represents growth and transformation. This makes it the perfect design for people who have overcome hardship and adversity and embrace a new spiritual walk of life.
Whether you’ve become a keen follower of meditation, breathing exercises, or other spiritual practices, the bellflower can signify your connection with the spiritual realm.
The bellflower is closely associated with endurance. If you’re not a spiritual person, but you’ve overcome hardship and grown as a person, you may wish to celebrate your own endurance.
The bellflower can represent your faith and tenacity and remind you to persevere in the future.
Would your friends or family describe you as someone modest and grounded? Do you have a low view of your self-importance but go out of your way to lift others up?
The bellflower could be the perfect tattoo design to symbolize your humility and modest outlook on life.
The bellflower has been around since ancient times. Over the years, this flower has come to represent various symbolic meanings to different cultures.
One thing hasn’t changed, though, and that’s the bellflower’s ability to spread joy and positivity wherever it grows. If you want to share this joy with the people you love, why not grace them with the gift of the bellflower?
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