Campanula rapunculus commonly known as raponzolo or raperonzolo is a herbaceous plant with bell-shaped flowers that is grown as an edible vegetable in the vegetable garden or as an ornamental in pots and in the flower beds of the garden.
General characteristics of the Campanula rapunculus – Raponzolo
Campanula rapunculus is a biennial or perennial herbaceous plant of the Campanulaceae family that grows in the wild in all fresh and uncultivated soils, on the edge of valley and mountain paths, up to 1500 meters above sea level. It is widespread throughout Italy with the exception of the islands, Sardinia and Sicily.
The raponzolo in full vegetative vigor it reaches a height of about 10 cm. It has a white, fleshy and edible taproot root, 3 to 8 centimeters long, rich in latex and inulin and which generates wintering buds at ground level. The aerial part of the stem is erect, ribbed and branched in the upper part.
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The leaves basal are obovate and 6 to 12 cm long while the upper or cauline ones are lanceolate-spatulate and 1 cm long. The edges of the leaf blades are indented. Stem leaves are covered with a soft whitish down. The leaves, which are also edible, are green in color.
THE flowers they are hermaphroditic and gathered in ample racemose inflorescences with more or less erect posture. They have a bell-shaped corolla, about two centimeters long, made up of 5 lilac-purple petals curved outwards. They are arranged along the stem. Hermaphroditic flowers are grouped in a racemose inflorescence, with a light blue or purple bell-shaped corolla, about two centimeters long. They are arranged along the stem in a fairly narrow one-sided front cluster.
THE fruits they are ovoid and erect dehiscent capsules containing very small seeds.
THE seeds, numerous and light, released by the dry capsules fall to the ground and are carried meters away by the wind (dissemination anemocora) and by ants (dissemination myrmecoria).
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Campanula rapunculus blooms from late spring to late summer, typically from May to September.
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Cultivation of the campanula rapunculus – Raponzolo
It can be grown in pots or directly in the ground.
It is a plant that loves light exposure but is exposed to direct sunlight for a few hours. It tolerates the heat of the summer months well and does not fear the cold. arrangement A semi-shaded position and a humid soil with constant watering must be ensured. Furthermore, the summer flowering makes the plant suitable for a decorative purpose
It is a rustic plant that prefers fresh, basically calcareous and above all well drained soils as it does not tolerate water stagnation.
Raponzolo should be watered regularly during the vegetative cycle, especially in the summer months. In the autumn-winter period, watering must be reduced or suspended completely if the roots are extracted from the ground.
It should be done in spring with an administration of a fertilizer rich in nitrogen (N), potassium (K) and phosphorus (P) diluted in the irrigation water.
Campanula – Raponzolo: cultivation in pots
It is an easy plant to grow even in a pot that is at least 30 cm deep to allow regular development of taproots. The soil should be cool, moist but well drained.
Multiplication of the Campanula rapunculus – Raponzolo
The reproduction of the plant occurs by seed.
Sowing directly in the garden or in pots is carried out in March-April or in May-June after mixing the very small seeds, with sand for a more uniform distribution, in small furrows 25 cm apart.
The sowing soil, fresh, fertile, well worked, must be bright but exposed too much to direct sunlight and wet with rain, until the seeds germinate which generally takes place within 10 days.
The grown seedlings must be thinned and during the first year they must be regularly freed from weeds.
To obtain well-branched plants, repeated topping is necessary to obtain well-branched seedlings.
Pests and diseases of Campanula rapunculus
This beautiful rustic plant is rarely attacked by aphids and scale insects and among fungal diseases it suffers from root rot if the soil is too compact and not very permeable to water.
Cures and treatments
The raponzolo must be hoed frequently and in winter the roots must be protected from frost with a mulch of straw or dry leaves.
The plants sown in March are harvested in September while those born from the sowing of May during the winter. The roots are harvested when they are still small and fleshy, in late winter.
Usable parts of the Raponzolo
All parts of this plant, adices, stems and leaves, are consumed as a vegetable.
Uses of roots
The roots of this plant similar to small turnips but with a delicate flavor reminiscent of those hazelnuts can be eaten raw or cooked, in appetizers or as side dishes. Like Jerusalem artichokes, the roots of Raponzolo do not contain starch but only inulin and therefore can be consumed without problems even by those suffering from diabetes. The roots to be used in the kitchen must be extracted from the ground and scraped with the aid of a small knife.
You use leaves
The leaves, with their typical bitter taste, can be used raw in salads or sautéed in a pan with garlic and oil, boiled in soups and also as a filling for savory pies.
The leaves can be used as a natural remedy in the treatment of infections of the oral cavity and in this case it will be sufficient to chew them for a few minutes.
For external use, Rapunzel leaf wraps are useful in the treatment of warts or to relieve pain caused by chilblains. To prepare it, just crush or chop some leaves and apply the mixture obtained on the affected area. Alternatively, a mucilage-rich solution can be prepared by soaking the leaves in hot water.
You use flowers
The flowers of Campanula rapunculus are generally used for decorative purposes to create borders and flower beds generally with daisies. In pots are flowering plants that liven up the semi-shaded balconies and terraces.
Thanks to its properties, this plant is also widely recommended for important therapeutic effects. Being rich in inulin and starch-free, they can be consumed by diabetics and for the laxative effect by those who suffer from constipation.
The infusion of dried roots or leaves and flowers is an excellent antibacterial and disinfectant mouthwash to be used for gargling with a soothing or refreshing effect on the oral cavity and against sore throats.
Furthermore, together with vitamin C, it has a good diuretic and detoxifying effect.
This beneficial vegetable has no side effects or contraindications. The only care required for its normal consumption is to pay attention to the cultivation soil and to carefully clean the roots to avoid health risks.
Bluebells and the language of flowers
In the jargon of the flowers, like the other species of bluebells, the Raponzolo is also the symbol of hope and perseverance.
The generic name Campanula refers to the bell shape of the flower and derives from the Latin campanula which means: small bell. The specific epithet rapunculus which means small turnip refers to the swollen roots of the plant. The scientific name was attributed to the plant by Carl von Linné (1707 – 1778), the father of the modern scientific classification of living organisms.