Campanulacea / Bluebell
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Medical Uses: Native American healers used a plant tea as an emetic. A root tea used to treat trembling by scratching the skin of the affected limb and working the tea under the skin.(Foster & Duke) The native healers had a special instrument consisting of a wooden handle with several needles used to apply medicine beneath the skin much a modern doctor might use a hypodermic needle.(Densmore) Warning: All lobelias contain alkaloids that may be dangerous or even fatal in sufficient amounts. See Lobelia, Lobelia .
Similar Species: There are many similar species and many
varieties of some. Of particular interest to those in the mid south is L. appendiculata. It is usually shorter than
L. Spicata and a variety know as Gattinger's Lobelia, Lobelia appendiculata var.
Gattingeri is endemic to the cedar glades in the central basin of Tennessee. It is named for the botanist Dr.
Augustin Gattinger who came to Nashville during the Civil War and played a pivotal role in identifying the cedar glades as
important, unique and beautifully rich botanical areas.(Hemmerly)
See: Downy Lobelia, Lobelia puberula
One of the best general guides to wildflowers of the North Eastern and North Central United States. Newcomb's key is an excellent, simple method for identifying plants. Newcomb has drawings for almost every plant mentioned that are excellent aids to identifying the species. Though only the more common plants are covered this is often the first book I pick up when trying to identify a wildflower.
This is perhaps the best of many field guides covering this region. Featuring 446 excellent color photographs (located with the text) and mentioning as similar to those illustrated are another 800 or so species for a total coverage of over 1,200 species. The start of each family section includes line drawings of some of the species showing important features. The text includes the usual description, bloom season, range, habitat and additionally includes information such as medical uses and lore and how the species was named. This is the official field guide of the Tennessee Native Plant Society.
Angiosperms / Flowering Plants
Dicots / Two Seed Leaves