ROUND-HEADED RAMPION

PRIDE OF SUSSEX

Phyteuma orbiculare

Bellflower Family [Campanulaceae]

month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug

status
statusZnative
flower
flower8mauve
morph
morph8actino
petals
petalsZMany
type
typeZglobed
type
typeZtubular
stem
stem8round
stem
stem8ribbed
rarity
rarityZscarce

26th Aug 2014, Winchester Hill, Hampshire. Photo: © Simon Melville
An un-branched perennial which grows up to 50cm.


26th Aug 2014, Winchester Hill, Hampshire. Photo: © Simon Melville
Just a single round but slightly ribbed stem with a few small single leaves and a globed mostly blue flower-head. The globular clusters (nothing to do with astronomy) are about 1 to 2cm wide.


26th Aug 2014, Winchester Hill, Hampshire. Photo: © Simon Melville
The flowers have many upwardly and inwardly curved blue florets with prominent anchor-like thinner projections from their tips. Stems round, slightly ribbed. It is either hairless or only sparsely hairy. This specimen is sparsely hairy.


19th July 2012, Harting Down, West Sussex. Photo: © Dawn Nelson
At first the florets are tubular but bent inwards. But as they mature a long thinner blue style pokes through the tip of the tube.


19th July 2012, Harting Down, West Sussex. Photo: © Dawn Nelson
The blue styles themselves either bifurcate or trifurcate with pale-blue azure-coloured stigma.


11th July 2013, Levin Down, Sussex Photo: © Dawn Nelson
There can be 2 or 3 stigma on the end of each style, the stigma being curved like anchors (with 2 styles) or grappling irons (if three styles).


19th July 2012, Harting Down, West Sussex. Photo: © Dawn Nelson
The stigma on styles concolourous with their tubes. The tubes split into curly blue ribbons (no, not chocolate biscuits!) eventually after the style emerges.


19th July 2012, Harting Down, West Sussex. Photo: © Dawn Nelson
The styles emerge from the tube at their tips, which are 5-lobed and eventually split into ribbons.


19th July 2012, Harting Down, West Sussex. Photo: © Dawn Nelson
Intact tubes with the styles yet to escape.


19th July 2012, Harting Down, West Sussex. Photo: © Dawn Nelson
The stem is round and slightly ribbed. (Did your Author ever say that before?)


19th July 2012, Harting Down, West Sussex. Photo: © Dawn Nelson
Apparently the 5 stamens are initially closely appressed to the style within the tube. But presumably when the tube peels apart into five blue ribbons the anthers are then free to find their own way in the World. Your Author believes the long white thinner ribbons are the stamens/anthers. This view is supported by that one on the far right where there are three starting to part at the top, but in a split tube lower down. There are 5 stamens to each floret.

Note the bulging bases of the blue tubes (shaped like miniature Scotch Whisky distilleries, centre of photo), and the ring of 5(?) grey and triangular 'bracts'(?) which surround them and are toothed on the edges.



19th July 2012, Harting Down, West Sussex. Photo: © Dawn Nelson
There are more grey 'bracts'(?) surrounding each blue floret right at the centre of the blue globe.


Not to be semantically confused with : Ramping-Fumitorys such as Purple Ramping-Fumitory (Fumaria purpurea) [a plant with similar name belonging to a differing family]

Many similarities to : Sheep's-bit (Jasione montana) which in the same family (Campanulaceae) [but not in the same genus] and has similar flowers with a similar maximum height (50cm) but is shorter and they are mostly blue in colour.

Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature : The numerous deep blue initially tubular florets in the formation of a globe which are curved inwards.

Each floret, which are numerous, has a single style split into either 2 or 3 recurved stigma at the tip. Initially appressed around each style are 5 long (but not as long as the styles), white, ribbon-like and narrow stamens which eventually flop around amongst the tubular florets. The tube part of the florets also peels itself apart into 5 narrow curly petals, which your Author calls 'blue ribbons', about 5 to 8mm long.

It does have leaves, both stem leaves (which are very few, the lower ones being strap-shaped) and basal leaves (which are long-stalked, 2 to 4cm elongated-oval, shallowly-toothed and rounded at the base). Alas, no photos of the basal leaves (yet...).

It grows in open chalk grassland from South East England to North Wiltshire and East Sussex. It is a fairly rare [RR]. The UK plant belongs to the segregate Phyteuma tenerum which is sometimes thought of as either a separate species or the sub-species tenerum.


  Phyteuma orbiculare  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Campanulaceae  

Distribution
 family8Bellflower family8Campanulaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Phyteuma
Phyteuma
(Rampions)

ROUND-HEADED RAMPION

PRIDE OF SUSSEX

Phyteuma orbiculare

Bellflower Family [Campanulaceae]