Great Blue Cardinal Flower - Blue Lobelia
Lobelia siphilitica
Campanulaceae (Bellflower) Family

Plant is an upright hairy perennial. Preferred habitat is edge of streams, swamps, moist valleys and woods. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.

Leaves are two to six inches long; oval to lance-like; no teeth; graduating to a slender tip that has sides less than equal; scattered teeth. Leaf base graduates to a narrow point.

Flowers are one to two inches long; subtended by leafy bracts; five sepals; blue with white lines in flower throat. Corolla is bilabiate (two lips). Lower lip has three lobes. Calyx is hairy with leaf-like lobes; pointed; five stamens that form a united tube around the style. Flowers occur in the summer and autumn.

Fruit is a capsule.

This blue counterpart of the Red Cardinal Flower is excellent for the domestic wildflower garden. The unfortunate species name is based on the fact that it was a supposed cure for syphilis. The root contains alkaloids which cause vomiting.

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