Bellflower Family – Campanulaceae

The Bellflower family of 84 genera and over 2000 species has  two main subfamilies Campanulas and Lobelias.  Campanulas usually have symmetrical bell-shaped flowers but Lobelia flowers are 2-lipped. The most common species found in gardens are Campanula lactiflora, Campanula carpatica, Lobelia erinus and Lobelia cardinalis. There are several wild flowers in the Campanula genus in Britain. The family is named after the genus Campanula which in Latin means ‘little bell’. Basic Flower Parts – 5 Sepals, 5 Petals , 5 Stamens, 1 style.

Harebell Campanula rotundifolia is a common native wild flower found on dry grassland throughout Britain and across the world in north temperate regions. It is a slender plant that flowers from July to October.

Milky Bellflower Campanula lactiflora is native to Turkey and the Caucasus. It is a popular garden plant.

The Clustered Bellflower Campanula glomerata is a native wild flower found in chalk grasslands in Britain and temperate Eurasia.  It flowers from May to September.

The Balloon Flower Platycodon grandiflorus is a hardy garden plant native to East Asia. There are a number of varieties with pink or white flowers. It flowers in July and August in Britain. 

Edging Lobelia Lobelia erinus was introduced to Britain from South Africa in 1753. Lobelias have 2-lipped flowers. The corolla has 5 fused petals which then spread into 2 lips, a lower lip of 3 petals and an upper lip of 2 thin petals. 

Lobelia cardinalis is a species of Lobelia native to North and Central America where it grows on stream banks and in pond edges and swamps. It first arrived in Britain in 1626. Lobelia cardinalis ‘Queen Victoria’, shown here, has brilliant red flowers and  is often planted in the margins of ponds

Lobelia ‘Fan Blue’  (Lobelia x speciosa ‘Fan Blue’) is one of the  popular cultivars based on the natural or artificial cross between L. Siphilitica and L. cardinalis. There are other cultivars in red, pink or purple developed from the same cross.

Close-up of the flower of a purple  cultivar Lobelia ‘Hadspen Purple’ (Lobelia x speciosa ‘Hadspen Purple’).