Harebells inhabit headlands and ledges where winds are often too high and soils too sparse for other flowers. Their stalks are thin and tall but deceptively supple and strong, and the silky bells can range in shade from deep purple to pearly blue. Many stalks bear bells in various stages of bloom.
Bees pollinate many harebells and, as the 18th century German naturalist Christian Konrad Sprengel noted, open harebells hold their pollen grains on a hairy 'brush' near the tip of the style that hangs from the center of the bell. As bees reach for the nectar inside the bells, they rub against the brush and remove pollen. All summer, harebells grace the shore, their tiny brushes (amazingly!) visible to the bare eye.