Korean Bellflower
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Korean Bellflower
ntroduced Photo: Gurcharan Singh
Common name: Korean Bellflower, Chinese bellflower, Japanese bellflower, common balloon flower, balloon flower • Tangkhul: Balloonwon
Botanical name: Platycodon grandiflorus    Family: Campanulaceae (Bell flower family)
Synonyms: Campanula glauca, Platycodon glaucus, Platycodon sinensis

Korean Bellflower is often called Balloon Flower. A notable feature of the plant is the flower bud which swells like a balloon before fully opening. The five petals are fused together into a bell shape at the base. There are varieties with white, pink and purple blooms in cultivation. In Korea, white flowers are more common. Growing up to 2 ft tall by 1 ft wide, it is an herbaceous perennial with dark green leaves and blue flowers in late summer. This plant together with its cultivars 'Apoyama group' and 'Mariesii' have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. It is cultivated in India as a medicinal and garden plant.
Medicinal uses: The root of this species is used extensively as an anti-inflammatory in the treatment of coughs and colds. In Korea, the plant is known as doraji and its root, either dried or fresh, is a popular ingredient in salads and traditional cuisine. The Chinese bellflower (called 桔梗 in Chinese) is also used in traditional Chinese medicine.

Identification credit: Gurcharan Singh Photographed in Kashmir.

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