Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Great Blue Lobelia - Lobelia siphilitica   L.
Members of Campanulaceae:
Members of Lobelia with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Campanulales » Family Campanulaceae
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DistributionThroughout the Mountains; ranges sparingly and locally into the western Piedmont, mainly along the VA border (at least historically), east to Rockingham and Caswell counties. As this species ranges south in VA to nearly the state line over its Piedmont and even Coastal Plain, it ought to be found elsewhere in northern NC farther eastward than Caswell County.

This is a Northern and Midwestern species, ranging from ME and ND south mainly to VA and central AR, but in the Appalachians and other mountain ranges to northern GA and even into LA.
AbundanceFrequent across the entire Mountain region, but very rare to locally rare into the adjacent and northern Piedmont.
HabitatThis is a wetland Lobelia, growing along stream margins, wet meadows, bottomlands, ditches, and other fairly rich, muddy places (but not usually in bogs).
See also Habitat Account for General Open, Wet Herblands
PhenologyBlooms from late July to October, and fruits shortly after flowering.
IdentificationThis is a robust herb, growing to about 3 feet tall, with an abundance of alternate stem leaves. They are mostly lanceolate to narrowly elliptic, about 5 inches long and 1-1.5 inches wide, with serrated margins. The raceme at the top 6-8 inches of the stem is very densely crowded with bright blue to violet-blue flowers; the flowers are so densely packed that they surround the stem on all sides, as opposed to a single vertical rank of flowers in nearly all others in the genus. Each flower is 1-inch long, larger than in most others in the genus. Thus, this is, by far, the most robust and "floriferous" of the blue-flowered Lobelia species, always a crowd favorite wildflower of the late summer and fall seasons in the mountains.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Great Lobelia, Blue Cardinal-flower
State RankS4
Global RankG5
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