Last summer I managed to photograph flowers in the Wellington Botanic Gardens (if you're local, you can see this plant beside the path about 20m uphill from the duck pond).
|Lobelia physaloides in the Wellington Botanic Gardens.|
|Red Lobelia, male phase presenting pollen.|
|Red Lobelia, female phase, stigma expanded to receive pollen.|
|Lobelia arenaria, Enderby Island, Auckland Islands.|
But molecular phylogenetic research has shown L. physaloides and L. cardinalis are not particularly closely related and in fact their morphology also suggests they're not close. Some botanists take a wide view of Lobelia and include L. physaloides, and that's the position I took in my earlier post. However, the earliest branches in the family tree of Lobeliaceae could just as easily be classified as separate genera, and in this case L. physaloides might be called Colensoa physaloides or perhaps placed in another genus. It seems its nearest relatives are in Australia and Africa, so it's not closely related to our other native species.
|Diagram of evolutionary relationships in the family Lobeliaceae (based on Antonelli 2008). It shows that plants classified as Lobelia are found in many different lineages. Most New Zealand species are in the C7 clade.|
Antonelli, A. 2008. Higher level phylogeny and evolutionary trends in Campanulaceae subfam. Lobelioideae: Molecular signal overshadows morphology. Molecular phylogenetics and evolution 46: 1–18.