Lobelia siphilitica L.
Blue Cardinal Flower
Family - Campanulaceae
Stems - To 1m tall, angular, glabrous to pubescent on angles, herbaceous, with milky sap.
Stem with milky sap.
Leaves - Alternate, sessile, oblong to lanceolate or oblanceolate, 2-6cm broad, to 15cm long, crisped or toothed(or both) on margins, typically pubescent on both surfaces, acute at the apex.
Inflorescence - Terminal raceme with +20 flowers. Flowers subtended by foliaceous bracts.
Flowers - Resupinate. Corolla purple-blue, tubular, 2-3cm long, with perforations (fenestrate), 5-lobed. Filaments united into a tube to 1.5cm long and surrounding style. Pedicels with pair of small bracteoles at or above the middle. Calyx pubescent to glabrous, +/-1.5cm long. Calyx lobes 5-6mm broad, with auricles at base.
Flowering - August - October.
Habitat - Wet areas.
Origin - Native to U.S.
Other info. - Steyermark
splits the species into two varieties, the most common being variety siphilitica.
A white flowered form of var. siphilitica, fo. albiflora,
is presented on the "White flowers alternate" portion of this website.
Another form, fo. purpurea Palmer &Steyermark,
has very deep purple flowers. The second variety is variety ludoviciana
A. DC., which has fewer flowers in the inflorescence and leaves and
stems which are mostly glabrous. Because the two varieties intergrade
and most Missouri material lies somewhere in between, Yatskievych chose not
to formally recognize these varieties.
Photographs taken at the Kansas City Zoo, 8-13-99 (f. albiflora) and in the Ozark Scenic Riverways, Shannon County, MO., 8-15-03(DETenaglia); also at Little Lost Creek Conservation Area, Warren County, MO, 9-6-2015 (SRTurner).