Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Cardinal-flower - Lobelia cardinalis   L.
Members of Lobelia with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Campanulales » Family Campanulaceae
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AuthorL.
DistributionEssentially throughout, though possibly absent in a county or two in the extreme eastern part of the Coastal Plain.

This is a very widespread species across most of North America, ranging from eastern Canada south to central FL and CA.
AbundanceCommon and widespread statewide, except rare to uncommon in the northeastern counties.
HabitatThis is a wetland species of many habitats, usually in fairly rich and muddy sites. It is found along pond and lake shores, streamsides, marsh edges, and in openings of bottomlands and swamps.
See also Habitat Account for General Broadleaf Herbaceous Mires
PhenologyBlooms from July to October, and fruits shortly after flowering.
IdentificationThis is one of the most conspicuous and beautiful of the state's wildflowers, known to all who venture outdoors. It is an erect herb, usually about 2-4' tall, mostly unbranched. The numerous alternate stem leaves are lanceolate to oblong, about 5-6" long and 1-2" wide, and barely serrated. The 5-6" long raceme at the end of the stalk contains numerous, crowded flowers, each deep red to crimson red (but not scarlet!), and about 1.5" long and tall from the front view. No further description is necessary; there is nothing remotely looking like the species in bloom, and practically no other color in nature (plant or animal) is as rich and deep red as the petals of this species.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)None. Most references use two words with no hyphen, which is certainly fine, though the website prefers not to have the word "Flower" as a stand-alone word in a common name.
State RankS5
Global RankG5
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