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(bellflower), a genus of plants of the family Campanulaceae. They are annual, biennial, and perennial herbs or, sometimes, subshrubs. The flowers, which are gamopetalous and bell-shaped, are blue, light blue, white, or, more rarely, violet. They are generally in racemes, panicles, or other types of clusters. There are approximately 300 species, distributed in the temperate zone of the northern hemisphere, primarily southern Europe and Southwest Asia. In the USSR there are 150 species, which are found predominantly in the Caucasus (130 species). The roots and leaves of some species, such as rampion (Campanula rapunculus), are edible. Many species are cultivated as ornamentals, including Canterbury bells (C. Medium), narrow-leaved bellflower (C. persicifolid), large bellflower (C. latifolia), and tussock bellflower (C. carpatica). Some varieties have double flowers; others, corroliform calyxes.