Codonopsis tangshen (bellflower)
Detail of an illustration of Codonopsis tangshen
Codonopsis tangshen Oliv.
bellflower, dang seng (Chinese)
Not evaluated according to IUCN Red List criteria.
On hillsides in scrub near forest margins.
About this species
This climbing perennial bears subtle, beautiful, bell-shaped flowers in late summer. It thrives as an ornamental in gardens of western Europe where the climate is similar to that of its home in China. The British plantsman Ernest Wilson collected seeds and specimens of Codonopsis tangshen for the nurserymen Messrs Veitch & Son, and in their book Hortus Veitchii (1906) C. tangshen is described as having been ‘raised from seed from central China, where, considered an important drug, and used amongst the very poor as a substitute for costly ginseng, it is known as t’ang-shên'. Codonopsis tangshen is still important in traditional Chinese medicine today.