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Campanulaceae including Lobeliaceae: Harebell Family Plant Identification Characteristics

Plants of the Harebell Family

(Includes Lobeliaceae)

      If you find a plant with beautiful flowers, alternate leaves, and milky sap, it may belong to the Harebell family. Excluding the Lobelias (described below), members of the Harbell family have delicate, bell-shaped flowers, which are bisexual and mostly regular. There are 5 (sometimes 3, 4, or 10) separate sepals, 5 (rarely 4) united petals, and 5 stamens. Flowers are most often blue, purple, or white. The ovary is positioned inferior or partly so, and consists of 3 (sometimes 2 or 5) united carpels, as indicated by the number of styles. Partition walls are present, forming an equal number of chambers. False partitions may make it seem like more chambers. The ovary matures as a capsule (rarely a berry) with numerous seeds. Worldwide, there are about 70 genera and 2,000 species. Many species contain inulin polysaccharides and cyanogenic glycosides (Zomlefer). Laurentia provides isotomin, a heart poison.

Key Words: Bell-shaped flowers, usually with milky juice in the stems.

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Harebell Subfamily: Campanuloideae

Campanula rotundifolia. Harebell.

Campanula rotundifolia. Harebell.

Campanula rotundifolia. Harebell.

Campanula rotundifolia. Harebell. Harebells are sometimes called "bluebells," but there are also bluebells (Mertensia) in the Borage family.

Campanula rapunculoides. Creeping Bellflower.

Campanula rapunculoides. Creeping Bellflower. The roots are edible and worth harvesting. Read more in Foraging the Mountain West.

Campanula uniflora. Arctic Harebell.

Campanula uniflora. Arctic Harebell. Grows in alpine environments in the Rocky Mountains. .

Wahlenbergia albomarginata. New Zealand Harebell.

Wahlenbergia albomarginata. New Zealand Harebell.

Foraging the Mountain West
Foraging the Mountain West

Lobelia Subfamily: Lobelioideae
The Lobelia subfamily includes irregular, figwort-like flowers, often with pointy lobes.
Like other members of the Harebell family, the Lobelias have milky sap.

Lobelia angulata. Panakenake.

Lobelia angulata. Panakenake. Native to New Zealand.

Foraging the Mountain West
Foraging the Mountain West

There are more
Harebell Family pictures

Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification
Identify plants with
Botany in a Day
Foraging the Mountain West
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Foraging the Mountain West

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      Looking for life-changing resources? Check out these books by Thomas J. Elpel:

Green Prosperity: Quit Your Job, Live Your Dreams.
Roadmap to Reality: Consciousness, Worldviews, and the Blossoming of Human Spirit
to Reality
Living Homes: Stone Masonry, Log, and Strawbale Construction
Participating in Nature: Wilderness Survival and Primitive Living Skills.
in Nature
Foraging the Mountain West: Gourmet Edible Plants, Mushrooms, and Meat.
Foraging the
Mountain West
Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification
in a Day
Shanleya's Quest: A Botany Adventure for Kids

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