Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Downy Lobelia - Lobelia puberula   Michaux
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Section 6 » Order Campanulales » Family Campanulaceae
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AuthorMichaux
DistributionOccurs statewide, and certainly must be present in all 100 counties.

This is a widespread Southeastern species, ranging from NJ, PA, and eastern OK, south to central FL and central TX.
AbundanceFrequent to common in the Coastal Plain and Piedmont; frequent in the mountains, except less numerous at high elevations.
HabitatThis species has no true habitat requirements, other than favoring partial shade. It may grows in damp soil or in dry places, though not really sandy ones. It usually is found along wooded borders, forest openings, powerline clearings, weedy fields, meadows, and many other places, though usually fairly close to forests and woodlands.
PhenologyBlooms from late July to October, and fruits soon after flowering.
IdentificationThis is a fairly standard Lobelia, being an erect herb, usually unbranched, and reaching about 2' tall. The stem is usually quite pubescent, especially toward the base. The numerous alternate stem leaves are sessile, elliptic to oblanceolate and rounded toward the tip, about 3" long and 1" wide, only gradually smaller up the stem. The top 6-8" of the stem is the narrow raceme, of crowded flowers, each violet-blue to medium blue, and about 3/4" long. The raceme is often somewhat secund or slightly twining, but is not dense on all sides of the stem as is L. siphilitica. Though many other species in the genus have similar appearances, all others tend to be essentially smooth on the stem and leaves; but this species has hairy leaves and well as stems. As it occurs statewide, it should be very familiar to all biologists, and this is the "default" tall blue-flowered Lobelia, unless or until proven otherwise as L. elongata, L. georgiana, L. amoena, L. glandulosa, etc.
Taxonomic CommentsVarieties are often assigned by references, but Weakley (2018) does not list any.

Other Common Name(s)None
State RankS5
Global RankG5
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