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Genus Isotoma Family Campanulaceae

Synonyms: Hypsela APNI*

Description: Annual or perennial herbs with milky sap, erect or creeping, rhizomatous, much branched, minutely pubescent or glabrous, with a distinct taproot, but sometimes with adventitious roots along the branches.

Leaves alternate, toothed or variously lobed, rarely entire, often petiolate at the base and becoming sessile on the branches.

Flowers solitary and axillary, or in terminal racemes, bisexual or unisexual and then plants dioecious, pedunculate with leaf-like bracts. Calyx shortly tubular, lobed. Corolla only slightly zygomorphic, ± notched anteriorly and with almost subequal lobes spreading horizontally, very shortly and obliquely campanulate at the base, lower 3 lobes often with distinct markings. Stamens fused to the corolla above the middle or near the summit of the tube; lower anthers smaller, with a bristle and a tuft of apical hairs, upper 3 anthers slightly longer and at the apex ± curved down onto the lower ones; filaments fused above, anthers fused around the style. Ovary inferior or semi-inferior, 2-locular, slender style topped by a slightly swollen, more or less hairy and scarcely 2-lobed stigma.

Fruit an urn shaped or conical capsule, 2-valved, loculicidally dehiscent within the calyx lobes, seeds numerous, minute.


Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 12 species, Australia & New Zealand. Australia: c. 10 species (endemic), all States.

Some species suspected of poisoning livestock, but are reported to have an acrid, bitter taste, and be unpalatable to stock. Australiasian species of Hypsela as In Flora of NSW Vol. 3 are now included under Isotoma.

Text by B. Wiecek; key updated L. Murray (Sep 2018)
Taxon concept:

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