Bellflower (Family Campanulaceae)

 

The Family Campanulaceae (also Bellflower Family), of Order

Asterales, contains about 2000 species, in 70 genera, of herbaceous

plants, shrubs, and rarely small trees, often with milky non-toxic

sap. Among them are the familiar garden plants Campanula (bell-

flower), Lobelia, and Platycodon (balloonflower).

 

This family is very cosmopolitan but concentrated in the Northern
Hemisphere. However in the Southern Hemisphere, South Africa is
remarkably rich in members of this family. These species are absent
in the Sahara, Antarctica and northern Greenland.

 

Members of Family Campanulaceae are used for ornamentals, but

have other benefits. Many species produce chemical compounds in

wide variety. Some of these compounds are highly toxic, but others

have been used to treat asthma and other breathing disorders. Perhaps

the best known compound is lobeline, a mild narcotic which provides

the slight rush and calming effect of nicotine, but which does not

appear to be addictive. As such, it can be used as an aid to quit smok-

ing, though its sale is now regulated in some countries.

 

 

Back to Inventory of Herb/Forb Families and Species

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