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Family Lobeliaceae

Description: Annual or perennial, erect or prostrate herbs [or rarely shrubs or trees], often with acrid milky sap.

Leaves simple, alternate or opposite, sometimes basal, margins entire or toothed to deeply lobed; stipules absent.

Inflorescence cymose or raceme-like, or flowers solitary in axil of leaf-like bracts. Flowers zygomorphic, bisexual or unisexual and then plants dioecious, mostly 5-merous, frequently protandrous, resupinate by the twisting of the pedicel so that the posterior sepal comes into the anterior position. Calyx with a short tube; lobes equal or unequal, valvate in bud, persistent in fruit. Corolla 1- or 2-lipped; lobes valvate in bud, equal or unequal, margins often induplicate; tube often split along upper surface or notched anteriorly, although the pedicel is twisted to bring the notch into the posterior position. Stamens 5; filaments joined to the corolla basally; anthers and filaments joined into a tube around the style, tube with slit-like openings extending up from the base to varying degrees; all anthers or only the anterior ones hairy or bristly at apex, opening longitudinally, pollen deposited on the stylar hairs or retained within the anthertube. Ovary inferior or partly so, 2- or 3-locular; ovules numerous, placentation axile; style 1, entire or stigmatic lobes or branches equal to the ovary loculi, lobes appressed during anthesis but subsequently lengthening and protruding from the anther tube and the stigmatic lobes diverging.

Fruit a capsule, indehiscent or somewhat fleshy and indehiscent; seeds numerous, small.

Distribution and occurrence: World: 29 genera, c. 1120 species, tropical, subtropical & temperate regions. Australia: 6 genera, c. 50 species, all States.

External links:
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Campanulaceae, Order: Asterales)

Sometimes the Lobeliaceae are included in the Campanulaceae. They are separated here on the basis of the fusion of anthers into a column and the zygomorphic corolla. Note: the corolla measurements are along the lower lip.

Text by B. Wiecek
Taxon concept:

 Key to the genera 
1Corolla tube slit to near base2
Corolla tube not slit to near base, notched4
2Corolla purpleMonopsis
Corolla blue, white or rarely pink
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3Fruit dehiscent, capsule opening by 2 loculicidal valves; erect or ascending herbs, few to multi-stemmed at the base, rarely rooting at nodes (Lobelia alata); corolla 2-lipped, with usually one petal larger than the othersLobelia
Fruit indehiscent or bursting irregularly below the corolla lobes, often succulent; prostrate herbs, rooting at the nodes, with petals more or less the same size
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4Fruit dehiscent; flowers mostly more than 12 mm long (4–12 mm long in Isotoma fluviatilis); apex of anterior anthers with 1 or 2 large bristles; widespread speciesIsotoma
Fruit indehiscent; flowers 4–6 mm long; apex of anterior anthers with 1 large bristles; rare species, confined to the Sydney area
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