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Genus Lobelia Family Campanulaceae

Synonyms: Pratia APNI*

Description: Annual or perennial herbs usually glabrous; stems erect and mostly few-branched or prostrate, monoecious [or dioecious], often with milky sap, usually with a tap root, rarely with adventitious roots.

Leaves alternate, cauline leaves sometimes reduced to bracts, margins toothed or rarely lobed or entire.

Inflorescence terminal and cymose or raceme-like or flowers solitary, with 1–3 leaf-like or reduced bracts or bracteoles. Flowers unisexual. Calyx shortly tubular, lobed. Corolla tube split almost to base on upper side, 2-lipped, with the upper lip of 2 erect or recurved often much shorter lobes, and the lower one of 3 spreading lobes. Stamens fused to corolla at base; filaments sometimes splitting with age; 3 upper anthers slightly longer and with or without hairs, the 2 lower ones shorter with or without apical hairs. Ovary inferior, 2-locular; stigma 2-lobed.

Fruit a capsule dehiscing mainly loculicidally, 2-valved.

Distribution and occurrence: World: >300 species, cosmopolitan, especially tropical & subtropical regions of North America, southern Africa & Australia. Australia: c. 20 species (native), all States.

Text by B. Wiecek
Taxon concept:

Taxa not yet included in identification key
Lobelia claviflora

 Key to the species 
1Fruit dehiscent, capsule opening by 2 loculicidal valves; erect or ascending herbs; few to multistemmed at base, rarely rooting at the nodes (except for L. anceps); corolla 2-lipped with usually one petal larger than the other2
Fruit indehiscent or bursting irregularly below the corolla lobes, often succulent; prostate herbs, rooting at the nodes with petal ± the same size12
2Flowers at the tip of the shoot in a raceme-like arrangement, subtended by bracts or very reduced leaves3
2Flowers solitary in the axils of leaves (but leaves often reducing in size towards the tips of stems in L. anceps)8
3Stems decumbent, flowering shoots ascending; leaves ovate, base of lamina truncate to cordateLobelia trigonocaulis
Stems erect or ascending; leaves oblanceolate to linear-elliptic, sessile, subsessile or tapering to the base
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4Seeds strongly 3-angled, smooth and shiny5
Seeds not 3-angled, surface very faintly ridged or reticulate
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5Capsule 7–15 mm long; upper corolla lobes recurved, glabrousLobelia simplicicaulis
Capsule 3.5–4 mm long; upper corolla lobes incurved and pilose
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Lobelia andrewsii
6Lower leaves ovate, margins broadly lobed; seeds ellipsoidal, very faintly ridged to almost smoothLobelia dentata
Lower leaves with margins usually entire, rarely with a few narrow teeth; seeds irregularly angular, reticulate
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7Anther tube 2.5–4 mm long; staminal filaments 4–6.5 mm long; corolla 10–20 mm long, lower lip spreading, rarely decurved, the central lobe of lower lip usually narrowly elliptic, acute; leaves entireLobelia gibbosa
Anther tube 1.8–2.3 mm long; staminal filaments 2–3 mm long; corolla 9–14 mm long, lower lip decurved, the central lobe of lower lip oblanceolate to oblong, usually obtuse and apiculate; leaves narrowly toothed or entire
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Lobelia browniana
8Young stems usually with a narrow wing 0.2–1.1 mm wide; capsule ± cylindrical, 8–12.5 mm long, 2–2.5 mm wideLobelia anceps
Stems sometimes ridged but not distinctly winged; capsule ellipsoid to obovoid or obconical, 7 mm long
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9Pedicels 1–5(–7) mm long; leaves crowdedLobelia darlingensis
Pedicels (8–)10–60(–70) mm long; leaves ± well spaced
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10Lamina usually broadly ovate, margins toothed, base rounded; petiole distinctLobelia membranacea
Lamina linear to narrow-elliptical or elliptical, tapering to an indistinct petiole
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11Pedicels (8–)10–30 mm long; plants with spreading hairsLobelia pratioides
Pedicels 35–70 mm long; plants glabrous
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Lobelia stenophylla
12Peduncles <5 mm long13
Peduncles >5 mm long
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13Leaves to 12 mm long; corolla to 5 mm longLobelia darlingensis
Leaves 10–30 mm long; corolla >5 mm long
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Lobelia concolor
14Leaves usually obovate to spathulate, margins mostly entireLobelia surrepens
Leaves not as above, margins ± toothed
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15Leaves ovate to lanceolate to oblong-lanceolate, 10–30 mm long, glabrous16
Leaves ovate to ± circular, mostly <10 mm long, usually hairy or glabrescent
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Lobelia pedunculata
16Peduncles 10–70 mm long; calyx lobes with a small basal tooth on each side; leaves mostly petiolate, often purplish on lower surfaceLobelia purpurascens
Peduncles 3–13 mm long; calyx lobes without basal teeth; leaves sessile, green on lower surface
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Lobelia concolor

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