Index- plants in this Family
Campanulacea / Bluebell
Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
Cardinal Flower is also known as Red Lobelia.

Plant Type: This is a herbaceous plant, it is a perennial which can reach 150cm in height (59inches).
Leaves: The leaves are alternate . Each leaf is Toothed.
Flowers: The flowers are irregular in shape and are up to 4.5cm long (1.75 inches) and are up to 1cm wide (0.5 inches). They are brilliant red. Blooms first appear in late summer and continue into mid fall. The showy flowers begin opening at the bottom of a terminal flower spike and continue to the top. The flowers are near the base on each side.
Habitat: Rich damp woods often near water.
Range: All of the U. S. except the north west and northern Rocky Mountains.

      Color Photo     More Info      Classification

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This is the only Lobelia in our area that does not have blue flowers. A mass of plants in full bloom is a striking sight.

Lore: The root was part of a Native American love potion and the powder of the entire plant may have been used as sort of a magic power to dispel storms and was used in ceremonys.

Medical Uses: Native Americans used this and other Lobelias to treat worms, stomach problems and syphilis. Its use for the latter by the Cherokee and Iroquois Indians prompted testing in England in the 1770s but the results were negative.
: All lobelias may be toxic.
: Lobelia, Lobelia

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The lower photo was taken just before dawn near a spring in a residential area. The location was once a swamp that was drained for development. The area has now been "cleaned up" and the Cardinal Flowers are no longer there.

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More Info:  
The Search below may provide more information about this species. Some of URLs may have been used as a source for this page not otherwise cited. Most of the information not cited comes from multiple sources that can be found in the Books page. The USDA plant links are provided by: USDA, NRCS 1999. The PLANTS database ( National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA. You can check species names at ITIS Advanced Search to see if they meet the current ITIS taxonomic criteria.

By: Newcomb, Lawrence and Illustrated by Morrison, Gordon. 1977, Little, Brown and Company, ISBN:0-316-60442-9

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.

Wildflo wers of Tennessee the Ohio Valley and the Southern Appalachians
By: Dennis Horn and Tavia Cathcart and Thomas E. Hemmerly and David Duhl. , ISBN:1551054280

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



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