With increases in both the size and scope of phylogenetic trees, we are afforded a renewed opportunity to address long-standing comparative questions, such as whether particular fruit characters account for much of the variation in diversity among flowering plant clades. Studies to date have reported conflicting results, largely as a consequence of taxonomic scale and a reliance on potentially conservative statistical measures. Here we examine a larger and older angiosperm clade, the Campanulidae, and infer the rates of character transitions among the major fruit types, emphasizing the evolution of the achene fruits that are most frequently observed within the group. Our analyses imply that campanulids likely originated bearing capsules, and that all subsequent fruit diversity was derived from various modifications of this dry fruit type. We also found that the preponderance of lineages bearing achenes is a consequence of not only being a fruit type that is somewhat irreversible once it evolves, but one that also seems to have a positive association with diversification rates. Although these results imply the achene fruit type is a significant correlate of diversity patterns observed across campanulids, we conclude that it remains difficult to confidently and directly view this character state as the actual cause of increased diversification rates.