Description from Flora of China
Cardinalis Fabricius; Dortmanna Hill; Laurentia Adanson; Rapuntium Miller.
Herbs, but some species lignified at base, and even some species in Africa and Hawaiian Islands trees and shrubs. Leaves alternate, in 2 rows or spiral. Flowers solitary and axillary, or in terminal racemes, or in panicles of racemes, bisexual [some Australian species dioecious]; bracteoles present or absent. Flowers pedicellate, solitary and axillary or in terminal racemes (rarely secund or corymbose) or panicles. Calyx lobes entire or serrate, persistent, rarely auriculate. Corolla zygomorphic, rarely with a narrow nectar spur; dorsal side typically divided longitudinally to base or nearly so, sometimes laterally fenestrate; limb commonly bilabiate, dorsal lip 2-lobed, ventral lip 3-lobed, or rarely ventrally unilabiate. Stamens connate, enveloping style, exserted from corolla dorsally; all 5 anthers or just ventral pair barbate at apex (rarely all nude). Ovary inferior or semi-inferior, very rarely almost superior, 2-locular; stigma 2-fid; ovules numerous. Fruit an apically 2-valved capsule or a berry. Seeds numerous, oblong or 3-angled, sometimes winged, smooth, foveolate, striate, or verrucose.
Doubtful species: Lobelia cavaleriei H. Léveillé (Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 9: 455. 1911). Type: Guizhou, Cavalerie 2989 (isotype, E). See Lammers (World Checkl. Bibliogr. Campanulaceae, Kew, 2007).
About 414 species: mainly in tropics and subtropics, particularly tropical Africa and America, with a few species extending to temperate regions; 23 species (six endemic) in China.
(Authors: Hong Deyuan (洪德元); Thomas G. Lammers)