Fructans, typically reserve carbohydrates, may also fulfil other more specific roles in plants. It has been convincingly demonstrated that fructan hydrolysis contributes to osmoregulation during flower opening in the monocot species Hemerocallis. We report that a massive breakdown of inulin-type fructans in the petals of Campanula rapunculoides L. (Campanulaceae), associated with flower opening, is accompanied by a strong increase in fructan 1-exohydrolase (1-FEH; EC 220.127.116.11) activity and a decrease in sucrose : sucrose 1-fructosyl transferase (1-SST; EC 18.104.22.168) activity. The data strongly suggest that the drastic change in the 1-FEH/1-SST activity ratio causes the degradation of inulin, contributing to the osmotic driving force involved in flower opening. All characterised plant FEHs are believed to be derived from tissues that store fructans as a reserve carbohydrate either temporarily (grasses and cereals) or over a longer term(dicot roots and tubers). Here, we focussed on a physiologically distinct tissue and used a reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction based strategy to clone the 1-FEH cDNA from the Campanula petals. The translated cDNA sequence groups along with other dicot FEHs and heterologous expression revealed that the cDNA encodes a 1-FEH without invertase activity. 1-FEH expression analysis in petals correlates well with 1-FEH activity and inulin degradation patterns in vivo, suggesting that this enzyme fulfils an important role during flower opening.