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Zois' Bellflower (Campanula zoysii)

If one were to select a flower to represent the Slovene, sunny side of the Alps, once would choose Zois' Bellflower, which has been present in this land since before the last ice age. It was found more than 200 years ago in the Bohinj Alps and on Storžič by the botanist, Karel Zois, younger brother of the much better known Žiga Zois. He sent it to Klagenfurt, to one of his botanical friends, who described the new bellflower and named it after the finder, after the "herald of the floral beauty of our Alps".


Zois' Bellflower is one of the oldest endemic plants. Other species of this genus have a bell-shaped corolla, but with Zois' bellflower, the corolla narrows, and ends in a five point starlet. It flowers in August high in the mountains in rock fissures. Run-off streams can also bring it considerably lower into the Alpine valleys.


One Slovene botanist wrote that it is "the daughter of the Slovene mountains". It grows in the Julian and Kamnik Alps and in the Karavanke. Since plants to not recognise state borders, it can also be found on the Italian and Austrian side of the Alps; in Austria on Dobrač, in Italy in the Carnian Alps, and there is a further isolated site in Slovenia in Trnovo forest.


Zois' Bellflower is classified as unthreatened on the Slovene Red List, since it is endemic and its classical locality is here.



Text by Nada Praprotnik


Zois' Bellflower (Campanula zoysii) /Photo: Ciril Mlinar