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Campanulaceae: Bellflower Family

This family has about 2,000 species in around 70 genera (Carr) (90 genera according to Watson and Dallwitz). The group has two primary subfamilies - the Campanuloideae and the Lobelioideae. Most North Americans and Europeans recognize this family from the small herbaceous bellflowers and cardinal flowers, which often decorate gardens. However, in Africa and Hawaii they can become large trees!

Campanulaceae is a well represented family in the Hawaiian native flora. In fact the Hawaiian lobelioids represent the largest radiation of plants on the Hawaiian islands (or any tropical island for that matter). 116 species have evolved on the islands in six genera (Brighamia, Lobelia, Trematolobelia, Clermontia, Cyanea and Delissea). Lobelias grow on the slopes of Hawaiian mountains. Many are endangered because of habitat destruction. These include the 'oha, alula, haha, and koli'i.

Campanulaceae Hawaiian Lobeliad

Probably the most interesting physical characteristic of the Campanulaceae is the method employed for pollination. The stamen of this flower are unique. They are usually fused together at the base of the flower, forming a cylinder. Before the female style forms, the pollen are released into the center of the tube. As the style elongates it pushes the pollen out the tube and hopefully onto insects waiting to feed from the flower. The real trick to this situation is that the receptive sticky tips of the style only open after all the pollen is pushed out. This prevents the plant from self-pollinating. But, the story doesn't stop there. Some species will, just in case they're not pollinated, curl the stigma back into the pollen at the bottom of the tube, to self-pollinate.

Systematics: Milky sap. Ovary inferior. Stigma pushes up through the staminal column, pushing out the pollen and then opening itself. Leaves are alternate and simple with stipules absent. One compound pistil with 2 carpels. Stamen equal the number of petals, which is usually 5-merous (sometimes 3-10merous).

Common well-known species

Balloonflower (Platycodon)

Gets its name from the way the flower bud swells before the petals unfold.


Cardinal Flower (Lobelia)

Common ornamental plant native to the N. Hemisphere.


Bellflower (Campanula)

Bellflowers area common garden flower.


Hawaiian Lobelias

116 species have radiated on the Hawaiian Islands.

Links to more information

Common Hairbells Campanulaceae

List of Genera according to Watson and Dallwitz

Adenophora, Apetahia, Astrocodon, Asyneuma, Azorina, Berenice, Brighamia, Burmeistera, Campanula, Canarina, Centropogon, Clermontia, Codonopsis, Craterocapsa, Cryptocodon, Cyananthus, Cyanea, Cylindrocarpa, Cyphia, Cyphocarpus, Delissea, Diastatea, Dielsantha, Downingia, Echinocodon, Edraianthus, Feeria, Githopsis, Grammatotheca, Gunillaea, Hanabusaya, Heterochaenia, Heterocodon, Heterotoma, Hippobroma, Homocodon, Howellia, Hypsela, Isotoma, Jasione, Legenere, Legousia, Leptocodon, Lightfootia, Lobelia, Lysipomia, Merciera, Michauxia, Microcodon, Monopsis, Musschia, Namacodon, Nemacladus, Nesocodon, Numaeacampa, Ostrowskia, Palmerella, Parishella, Peracarpa, Petromarula, Physoplexis, Phyteuma, Platycodon, Popoviocodonia, Porterella, Pratia, Prismatocarpus, Peudonemacladus, Rhigiophyllum, Roella, Rollandia, Ruthiella, Sclerotheca, Sergia, Siphocampylus, Siphocodon, Solenopsis, Symphyandra, Theilera, Trachelium, Treichelia, Trematolobelia, Trimeris, Triodanis, Unigenes, Wahlenbergia, Zeugandra.

 
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