Sunday, 18 July 2010 08:56


Written by forestelf
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Harebells, Mumbles Hill

During one of my regular walks on the Gower Peninsula, I was delighted to stumble across a patch of dainty Harebells (Campanula rotundifolia) in full bloom. These delicate flowers, which are amongst the most gorgeous wildflowers you can hope to discover along the whole of Gower Peninsula, are as rich in folklore are they are in beauty:

The flowers are known by a dizzying variety of names, including Witches’ Bells, Fairy Caps, Cuckoo's Thimbles, Harvest Bells and, more ominously, Dead Man's Bells.


Harebells (which are still attractive to bees and butterflies despite their scentless flowers) have long held associations with witches as it was believed that the juices from its sky-blue petals were a vital ingredient to the flying ointment used to make their besoms (broomsticks) take to the air. The flowers are also linked to sightings of faeries. Picking these 'magickal' flowers was said to enrage such earth spirits and bring bad luck to those who removed such spendour from the faeries' playground.

The name Harebell, which is by far the most common name attributed to Campanula rotundifolia, seems to have originated from the way that even the gentlest of breezes rattle these bell-shaped flowers. Growing in places where hares once lived in abundance, it was believed that the animals were warned of approaching danger by their ringing - their large ears being capable of hearing their peal (which rings silently to all other mortal life).

Read 2191 times Last modified on Sunday, 22 September 2013 13:14
More in this category: « Bluebells

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