Campanula trachelium bloem closeup

12 Interesting Facts About Trachelium

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Trachelium is a genus of about 20 species of herbaceous perennial flowering plants in the family Campanulaceae. Commonly known as throatworts, tracheliums are native to the Mediterranean region east to Iran. These plants are grown as ornamentals for their attractive flower heads.

Here are 12 fascinating facts about these underappreciated plants:

1. Their Name Comes From Their Historical Medicinal Use

The genus name Trachelium comes from the Greek word “trachelos,” meaning neck. This refers to their one-time use in herbal medicine for throat ailments. Species in this genus were thought to help treat inflamed throats, coughs, and laryngitis.

2. Tracheliums Have Unique Double Flowers

One of the most distinctive features of tracheliums is their double flowers that look almost like colorful starbursts. Most plants in this genus have flowers with 5 small, narrow outer petals and 5 broad inner petals that create a layered, ruffled appearance.

3. They Come in a Rainbow of Colors

While purple and blue shades are the most common, tracheliums also come inĀ white, pink, red, and multicolored varieties. New cultivars in shades of green, burgundy, orange, yellow, and more continue to be introduced by breeders.

Trachelium caeruleum - JBM
Trachelium caeruleum – JBM

4. Tracheliums are Sometimes Called “Campion Throatwort”

Another common name used for Trachelium plants is campion throatwort. This refers to their resemblance to flowers in the genus Campanula, commonly called bellflowers or campions. Both genera are part of the Campanulaceae family.

A few of the popular ornamental species include:

  • Trachelium caeruleum – Blue throatwort with violet-blue flowers
  • Trachelium rumelianum – A compact species with large purple flowers
  • Trachelium asperuloides – A dwarf variety under 12 inches tall

These species are valued in gardens, borders, containers, and cut flower arrangements.

6. Tracheliums are Attractive to Butterflies and Bees

With their star-shaped, tubular flowers and sweet nectar, tracheliums attract butterflies, hummingbirds, bees, and other beneficial pollinators to gardens. So they’re a great addition to any wildlife habitat.

7. They Require Well-Drained, Neutral to Alkaline Soil

Although relatively unfussy, tracheliums need well-drained soil and do poorly in wet, compacted, or acidic soils. They require a soil pH between 6.5-7.5. Adding lime if your soil is too acidic can help tracheliums thrive.

8. Trachelium Plants Range From 6 Inches to 3 Feet Tall

Depending on the variety, tracheliums grow 6 inches to 3 feet tall and about 2 feet wide. Dwarf types like T. asperuloides stay under 12 inches tall, while larger species can reach heights over 3 feet.

9. They are Sometimes Grown as Annuals in Colder Climates

Tracheliums are tender herbaceous perennials hardy to USDA zones 8-10. Gardeners in zones 7 and below often grow them as annuals. However, plants may reseed themselves and return year after year in warmer areas.

10. Slugs and Snails Are Attracted to Them

A downside to growing tracheliums is their appeal to slugs and snails. These slimy pests can quickly damage the foliage and flowers. Using slug bait or copper tape barriers can help protect plants.

11. Trachelium Originates From the Mediterranean and Middle East

This genus hails from the Mediterranean Basin eastward to Iran and the Caucasus Mountains. Their native habitat is dry slopes, woodland clearings, rocky outcrops, and abandoned fields in this region.

12. Some Species are Threatened or Endangered

Although several trachelium species are common garden plants, others have highly localized native ranges. For example, Trachelium gussonei is native only to Sicily and is threatened with extinction. Protecting native stands helps conserve these unique plants.


With their unusual dual flowers, tracheliums add unique beauty and wildlife habitat to gardens. Their historical medicinal uses are a testament to their botanical activity. Although they have particular growing needs, tracheliums are undemanding plants that offer gardeners a lot of visual bang for their buck. Learning more about this lesser-known genus can inspire new appreciation for their ornamental and ecological roles.

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