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Cardinal Flower

Lobelia cardinalis

Cardinal flower grows in moist areas such as seeps, wooded swamps, freshwater marshes, and along the banks of ponds, rivers and streams. (mtnbike115/Flickr)
Cardinal flower grows in moist areas such as seeps, wooded swamps, freshwater marshes, and along the banks of ponds, rivers and streams. (mtnbike115/Flickr)

Cardinal flower is a native perennial plant with small, red, tubular flowers that bloom in late summer.

Appearance:

The cardinal flower has small, red, tubular flowers with two lips and three lobes. The flowers bloom in July to September on alternate sides along unbranched stalks. Finely toothed, lance-shaped leaves grow to 4 inches in length. The cardinal flower plant grows 2 to 4 feet tall.

Habitat:

This plant is found in moist areas such as seeps, wooded swamps, freshwater marshes, and along the banks of ponds, rivers and streams. It grows in full or partial sun.

Range:

Grows throughout the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Reproduction and Life Cycle:

The cardinal flower reseeds itself each year. It can be propagated by seed or cutting.

Other Facts:

  • Attracts bees, butterflies and hummingbirds
  • The Iroquois had many medicinal uses for cardinal flower. The boiled the roots together with chicory root and used the liquid to treat fever. They also mashed the roots, stems, leaves and flowers together to treat cramps.
  • The Pawnee Indians used cardinal flower roots and flowers as a love charm

Sources and Additional Information:




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