Monday, September 28, 2015

Campanula tomentosa

Many different campanula are endemic to Turkey.

                     Campanula tomentosa (as syn. Campanula ephesia) plate 6715 in: Curtis's Bot. Magazine, vol. 143, (1917)

“In the year 2000 about 9300 species of vascular plants were known for the area of the Turkish Republic. The significance of this number becomes evident if we compare it with Europe as a whole, containing about 24% more species (about 11500), distributed over a thirteen times larger area.” (

I was aware that the area of the Turkish Republic was rich in endemic flora. I did not know about Peter Hadland Davis (1918-1992), the British botanist and his life’s work, The Flora of Turkey and the East Aegean Islands. In 1950 he began the research project. In 1952 he received his PhD on taxonomy of Middle East flora from the University of Edinburgh. In 1961 he intensified his efforts to complete The Flora of Turkey, which was finally completed in 1985. (

One web site about the book explains: “This monumental series presents the richness and diversity of Turkish flora in nine volumes (1966-85), plus two supplements (1988; 2001). It is a major contribution to the floristic study of South West Asia and the eastern Mediterranean region.”

The work was later co-authored. I believe there is a Volume 10 now.

The most important reasons for Turkey’s high plant biodiversity are relatively high proportion of endemics and a high climatic and edaphic (soil) variety.

“DAVIS & al. (1988) calculated that nearly one third of Turkish plant species (30.6%) is endemic to Turkey and the nearby Aegean Islands. For Austria the respective value is meagre 1.56% and for the British Isles it is still lower. Moreover, none of the endemic British species is taxonomically remote from a non-endemic species. One might unite all the endemic species with none-endemic ones, thus concluding endemism to be 0 % on the British Isles. On the other hand, rates of endemism are also highly dependent on the surfaces of compared areas and their delimitations. In order to achieve better comparable data one might unite the surfaces of Germany and France, thus obtaining an even larger area than Turkey. But the estimated proportion of endemics still would remain much lower, with Germany alone having about the same low proportion as Austria.

One reason for this relative importance of endemism in the Turkish flora is the mountainous and at the same time rather strongly fragmented surface of Anatolia. Since Darwin we know that geographic isolation between islands or separated mountains is an important means of speciation, leading to high spatial diversity. For Anatolia this assumption is confirmed by concentrations of endemism on highly isolated and relatively old massifs as Uludağ or Ilgaz Dağ, whereas very young volcanic cones as Erciyes Dağ or Hasan Dağ are surprisingly poor in endemics.” (

Campanula is one of several genera in the family Campanulaceae with the common name bellflower. It takes both its common and its scientific name from its bell-shaped flowers. Campanula is Latin for ‘little bell’.

The genus includes over 500 species and several subspecies, distributed across the temperate and subtropical regions of the Northern Hemisphere, with the highest diversity in the Mediterranean region east to the Caucasus.

The species include annual, biennial and perennial plants, and vary in habit from dwarf arctic and alpine species under 5 cm high, to large temperate grassland and woodland species growing to 2 meters tall.

The flowers are mostly blue to purple, sometimes white or pink. The fruit is a capsule containing numerous small seeds.

Campanula tomentosa is one of many pretty campanula species endemic to Turkey. C. tomentosa is almost a mounding looking campanula with shorter stems and bigger robust flowers of a lovely pastel blue color. Tomentosa is derived from the Latin meaning ‘covered in hairs’.


I don’t get the chance these days to go where C. tomentosa grows. It is found mostly on the Dilek Peninsula National Park jutting to the Aegean Sea. This place is right by the delta of the Meander River. The ancient city of Ephesus where the plant has been seen is not too far away either. A synonymous name for C. tomentosa is C. ephesia which means a native or inhabitant of ancient Ephesus.

Another species in the genus Campanula, Campanula rotundifolia is a perennial flowering plant in the Campanulaceae family native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Common names for it are harebell and bluebell.

I took these photographs at the Geneva Botanical Garden in the summer of 2014. Campanula rotundifolia is a perennial species of flowering plant spreading by seed and rhizomes. The flowers usually have five pale to mid violet-blue petals fused together into a bell shape about 12-30 mm long with pointed green sepals at the base. The petal lobes are triangular and curve outwards. The seeds are produced in a capsule about 3-4 mm diameter and are released by pores at the base of the capsule. As with many other Campanulas, all parts of the plant exude white latex when injured or broken.

                                    From Thomé, Prof. Dr. Otto Wilhelm, Flora von Deutschland Österreich und der Schweiz, 1885

The flowering period is long, and varies by location. The flowers are pollinated by bees, but can self-pollinate.

The photographs below are from a visit to Ephesus, Turkey in the summer of 1986. I never came across C. tomentosa myself.



  1. Hi Beste - aren't they lovely - beautiful name too for such a pretty plant. Lovely photos - and I enjoyed looking at the Peninsula and its ancient coastline etc ... fascinating part of the world.

    Cheers Hilary

  2. Indeed, a very special part of the world it is Hilary. Salut, Beste

  3. Oh, is that what these plants are! I hope these names stick in my mind... I wonder if I saw any different campanula in Foca?

  4. I doubt it. Foca is rather barren. Mind you it is a kind of barrenness I like.