Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Georgia Lobelia - Lobelia georgiana   McVaugh
Members of Campanulaceae:
Members of Lobelia with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Family Campanulaceae
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DistributionWidely scattered over the Piedmont; a few records from the southern Mountains and northern Coastal Plain. Records of this species had been previously included within L. glandulosa, L. elongata, and L. amoena. Nearly all of the RAB (1968) records for L. glandulosa for the Piedmont are now assigned to L. georgiana.

This has a narrow north-south range, from eastern VA south to the FL Panhandle, and inland to eastern TN.
AbundanceUncommon in the Piedmont, and perhaps overlooked there. Very rare in the northern Coastal Plain and southern Mountains. Though this is essentially the only one of the tall, smooth-stemmed, large-flowered Lobelia species in the Piedmont, it is not often encountered, and is definitely scarce as compared with the common L. puberula. The "?" on the State Rank of S3? is well justified.
HabitatThis is a species of somewhat standing waters/wetlands, growing in a variety of habitats, generally somewhat shaded. Habitats include wet powerline clearings, stream margins, openings in swamps and bottomlands, and wet thickets.
See also Habitat Account for General Broadleaf Herbaceous Mires
PhenologyThis species apparently blooms from August to October, and fruits in the same period.
IdentificationThis is one of several wetland species of Lobelia that are quite similar, and thus you must take care in the identification. These species are fairly tall, growing as an erect herb to 2 feet tall, rarely to 3 feet tall, usually unbranched. They have numerous alternate stem leaves. In this species, each leaf is elliptical-oblong to ovate, about 4 inches long and about 1.5 inches wide, with entire to serrated margins; the leaves tend to be wider in this species than in L. elongata but similar to those of L. amoena. The top 3-5 inches of the stem is a raceme of numerous (20 or more) flowers, each of which is violet-blue to medium blue. The flower is about 3/4-inch long, tubular and with two lips, the lower with three lobes and extending far beyond the two small upper lobes. In this species, the leaves are thick and stiff, as opposed to thin and flexible in L. amoena, which slightly overlaps in range but is a montane and southwestern Piedmont species. Additional separating characters are that this species tends to have glaucous blue-green leaves, whitened below, as opposed to bright green in other species. Also, the uppermost leaves are distinctly toothed, with gland-tipped teeth. However, L. georgiana can occur in the same area with L. elongata; L. georgiana can be separated by usually thick leaves "with a parchmentlike texture" (Weakley 2018); and some calyx segments usually with small teeth (as opposed to all calyx segments entire and thus no teeth). L. glandulosa often occurs in the same area in the Coastal Plain; that species has very narrow leaves, always under 1.5 cm (3/5-inch) wide. The common L. puberula has a densely pubescent stem, whereas the other species have a smooth stem. In summary, this is a thick-leaved species with leaves whitened below and as wide as 1.5 inches, and sepals with small teeth.
Taxonomic CommentsThis species has a checkered history. RAB (1968) included it within L. elongata, but Gleason (1952) had listed it as a good species. Most current references do consider it a good species, but NatureServe considers it as a variety of L. amoena, as L. amoena var. glandulifera, with a rank of TNR (not yet ranked). Thus, confusion of identity of specimens is understandable.

Other Common Name(s)None. Some references use "Southern Lobelia", but that is the preferred name for L. amoena.
State RankS3?
Global RankGNR
State Status
US Status
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B.A. SorrieMontgomery County, Uwharrie NF, Lomax North streamheads, Sept. 2021. MontgomeryPhoto_natural

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