LAWN LOBELIA

Pratia angulata

Bellflower Family [Campanulaceae]

month8jul month8july month8aug month8sep month8sept

status
statusZneophyte
flower
flower8azure
inner
inner8green
morph
morph8hemizygo
petals
petalsZ5
stem
stem8round

30th Aug 2014, National Wildflower Centre, Liverpool. Photo: © RWD
Apparently Lawn Lobelia is usually found in lawns, but your Author has never seen it before. The stems are precumbent, up to 15cm long and rooting at nodes.


30th Aug 2014, National Wildflower Centre, Liverpool. Photo: © RWD
At first glance it looks as though the flowers are symmetrical and actinomorphic, but a second inspection reveals that there is more often than not apparently a petal missing and that there is room for 6 rather than 5 petals. This plant is zygomorphic! Even the size of the petals varies slightly on each flower, with the middle petal being slightly larger and the outer two being slightly smaller, although there is often not a lot in it between the 5 petals. For this reason, and that it it looks actinomorphic on first glance, your Author has labelled it HemiZygomorphic.


30th Aug 2014, National Wildflower Centre, Liverpool. Photo: © RWD
Some petals taper to a point at the extremity, but there seems no consistency in which petals actually do taper. The flowers are between 7 and 20mm across.


30th Aug 2014, National Wildflower Centre, Liverpool. Photo: © RWD
The reason for the missing-petal appearance becomes obvious on a side-view: there is a slit in the corolla tube where the 'missing' petal is! The petals are azure in coloured and streaked a violet hue part way along the centre-line. The corolla tube is washed with a similar hue. A deeper violet cylindrical structure nestles off-centre within the corolla tube from which a style protrudes in some of the flowers (top right in this photo). This deep-violet cylinder will(?) become the seed pod. Opposite the slit in the corolla tube the corolla tube is bright-green! The sepals are isosceles-triangular in shape and purplish-brown (some empty sepal cups are also to be found in this image (bottom right).

The leaves are distinctive, angular with many straight edges. The teeth occur at changes in edge-direction of the leaf. Both stems and to a lesser extent leaves are matt-green with very short hairs.



30th Aug 2014, National Wildflower Centre, Liverpool. Photo: © RWD
As yet un-opened flower buds are long and with an ovaloid bulge being the petals which will unfold.


30th Aug 2014, National Wildflower Centre, Liverpool. Photo: © RWD
With a better view of the split side of the corolla tube and of the deep-violet cylinder within the tube (topmost flower).


30th Aug 2014, National Wildflower Centre, Liverpool. Photo: © RWD
Your Author has not a clue as to what this plant may be growing through the Lawn Lobelia, but although the leaves are totally different, the stems are roughly similarly hairy and the pods look like something which could grow out from within the corolla tube. Maybe it belongs to the same group of plants: a Lobelia of some sort?? (There are also some other tiny leaflets on pinnate leaves belonging to some other unknown plant lurking below).


30th Aug 2014, National Wildflower Centre, Liverpool. Photo: © RWD
This photo shows those same unknown pods with either a shocking pink outer covering encompassing a pale-green long cylindrical fruit, but exactly what this plant is is another matter entirely...


30th Aug 2014, National Wildflower Centre, Liverpool. Photo: © RWD
Empty sepal cups. Your Author wonders if the green ribbed thing yet another interloper from a differing plant entirely. The books say that Lawn Lobelia does not fruit in Belgium, nor in other parts of Europe, so all three of these interloping plant life-forms must therefore be of a different species to that of Lawn Lobelia. Professor Clive Stace says that the fruit is a berry, but fails to say whether or not it fruits in the UK.


30th Aug 2014, National Wildflower Centre, Liverpool. Photo: © RWD
The angular leaves, probably the reason why the plant is called Pratia angulata. The leaves are ≤12mm long.


Slight resemblance to : Starflower (Tristagma uniflorum) but that has 6 petals and is a taller plant.

Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature : The slight gap between the 5 slightly unequal petals.

This is a garden plant which can escape into the wild (or more likely into your own lawn!), which is why it is called Lawn Lobelia, although it is not actually a Lobelia, belonging to the closely related Pratia genus rather than the Lobelia genus.

Although its common name includes Lobelia, it does not belong to the Lobelia genus but rather to the related Pratia genus, both are in the same family Campanulaceae (Bellflower Family).


  Pratia angulata  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Campanulaceae  

Distribution
 family8Bellflower family8Campanulaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Pratia
Pratia
(Lawn Lobelia)

LAWN LOBELIA

Pratia angulata

Bellflower Family [Campanulaceae]