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Campanulaceae Juss. 1789, nom. cons.
the harebell family
Campanulaceae is derived from the late Latin campana, a bell, referring to the shape of the flowers. The leaves are alternate and simple, without stipules. The most fascinating characteristic of the family is the method of pollination of the flower. The stamens are fused together at the base of the flower, forming a cylindrical tube. Before the style forms, pollen is released into the centre of the tube, and as the style lengthens it pushes the pollen out of the tube on to any waiting insects. The sticky tips of the style open only after all the pollen is pushed out, and this prevents self-pollination. Some species, if they are not pollinated, curl the stigma back into the pollen at the bottom of the tube, and self-pollinate.
Lobelia erinus - Edging Lobelia
Illustration from Sowerby's Engliah Botany Vol. VI 1866 (plate 870)
Page last updated 7th October 2014