Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Palespike Lobelia - Lobelia spicata   Lamarck
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Section 6 » Order Campanulales » Family Campanulaceae
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AuthorLamarck
DistributionThroughout the mountains and Piedmont, barely extending into the edge of the Coastal plain (at least in Bladen County).

This is a widespread Eastern species, ranging from eastern Canada south to central GA and eastern TX.
AbundanceFrequent in the mountains and Piedmont, generally outnumbered there mainly just by L. puberula and L. inflata among blue-flowered members of the genus.
HabitatThis is a species of mesic places, growing in partial shade of woodland borders, wooded openings, powerline clearings, fields and meadows, and others similar sites. It seldom grows in wetlands but neither in overly dry or sandy sites.
PhenologyBlooms from late May to August, and fruits from July to October.
IdentificationThis iis a Lobelia in NC not like any others. It is a wand-like species, growing usually without branches, erect, to about 2' tall, but with very few stem leaves, though with fairly large and wide basal leaves. The few stem leaves are alternate, starting out oblanceolate and to 3-4" long and 3/4" wide, but gradually reduced upward, such that the top two-thirds of the stem is nearly naked, other than for the very long and slender terminal raceme. This often 6" long or more raceme has crowded flowers practically attached to the stem (owing to very short pedicels), but each is quite small and light blue, each barely 1/3" long. Thus, this familiar species can easily be identified by its very slender look with a long and narrow "spike" of small and light blue flowers (which can look almost white at a distance).
Taxonomic CommentsMany references list varieties for the species, but Weakley (2018) chooses not to.

Other Common Name(s)Spiked Lobelia
State RankS5
Global RankG5
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