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Platycodon grandiflorus

Platycodon grandiflorus (Jacq.) A. DC.

Platycodon grandiflorum (Jacq.) A. DC. orth. var.

Balloon Flower, Chinese Bellflower, Japanese Bellflower

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae (from Stearn’s Botanical Latin)
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassAsteridaeA large class that encompasses asters
OrderAsteralesFlowering plants with a central disk flower and surrounding petals, like daisies
FamilyCampanulaceaeCampanula or bellflower family; means “bell-shaped flowers”
GenusPlatycodon
Speciesgrandiflorus

About plant names...

Although related to bellflowers, balloon flowers are the only members of the genus Platycodon, meaning “broad bell.” The name “balloon flower” comes from the appearance of the unopened flowers, which resemble hot air balloons. It is native to China, Korea, Japan, and eastern Siberia. It is becoming naturalized in a few states in the United States, and its cultivars are popular in flower gardens.

Identification: Plants are 12-36" (30-91 cm) tall. Star-shaped 5-petaled flowers are blue, blue-violet, white, or pink, 2-3" (5-7.6 cm) across. Leaves are oval-shaped, with serrated edges and pointed tips, 1½-3" (3.8-7.6 cm) long.

Edibility: The large roots, which are toxic when raw, are prized in Asian cuisines when cooked. Roots are peeled, blanched in salt water, then fried, pickled, or added to soups. They contain antioxidants and immunostimulants. Uppermost leaves are also edible as an addition to salads.

Online References:

Platycodon grandiflorus in Paghat's Garden

Platycodon grandiflorus on BayImages.net

Platycodon grandiflorus on Wikimedia Commons

Platycodon grandiflorus on www.chicago-botanic.org

Platycodon grandiflorus on Erv Evans' site at the North Carolina State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Platycodon grandiflorus (Balloon Flower, Chinese Bellflower, Japanese Bellflower)

8/4/2007 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA

Platycodon grandiflorus (Balloon Flower, Chinese Bellflower, Japanese Bellflower)

7/17/2010 · Stan and Connie’s, Falmouth, ME
≈ 9 × 6" (23 × 15 cm) ID is uncertain

Platycodon grandiflorus (Balloon Flower, Chinese Bellflower, Japanese Bellflower)

8/4/2007 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA

Platycodon grandiflorus (Balloon Flower, Chinese Bellflower, Japanese Bellflower)

8/4/2007 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA

Platycodon grandiflorus description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 5 Oct 2016.

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Platycodon grandiflorus (Balloon Flower, Chinese Bellflower, Japanese Bellflower)

7/17/2010 · Stan and Connie’s, Falmouth, ME
≈ 9 × 6" (23 × 15 cm) ID is uncertain

Platycodon grandiflorus (Balloon Flower, Chinese Bellflower, Japanese Bellflower)

8/15/2009 · Naumanns, Chelmsford, MA
≈ 10 × 7" (26 × 17 cm)

Platycodon grandiflorus (Balloon Flower, Chinese Bellflower, Japanese Bellflower)

7/31/2008 · Falmouth, ME
≈ 20 × 15" (50 × 37 cm)

Range: Zones 4-9:

About this map...