Cortusa matthioli L.

Alpine Bells

Family: Primulaceae

Genus: Cortusa

Category: Perennial

Zones: 4 to 9?

Size: To 12" tall

Exposure: Part Shade


Purple to red flowers, nodding bell-shaped, on tall slender stems above the foliage, in spring. Light green leaves, roundish shape with serrated edges. Prefers moist soil.

From Bot. Repos. It delights much in shade; is perfectly hardy; thrives best in a light but pure soil; as dung, or other mixtures, are apt to rot the roots when in a state of inaction; flowering in May and June, and producing seeds. But the surest mode of propagation is by the root, which may be divided with success about September.


Published in Sp. Pl. 1: 144 in 1753.

Native to Europe.

ARS-GRIN shows it as a synonym of Primula matthioli but Cortusa matthioli is shown as the accepted name elsewhere, with PlantList showing Primula matthioli as unresolved.

Also published in Bot. Repos. 1: 1 in 1797: This beautiful little herbaceous plant, a native of the Germanic Alps, was known to, and described by all the elder, as well as modern botanical theorists...

Sources of Information

© 2010-12 Lisa J. Miner