Family, Lobelia. Color, deep, velvety red. One of our few flowers really scarlet. Flowers, in a raceme. The calyx is divided into 5 long, narrow points united below. The corolla, a long and narrow tube, breaks above and spreads into 5 divisions. Three of these are more united and stand apart from the other two, which, one on each side, are quite narrow. Through a split down the entire length of the corolla the stamens stand, tall and stiff, their red filaments and blue-gray anthers united into a tube. The anthers are slightly fringed with white. Overtopping all, peeping through the stamens' tube, and hanging down, is the red double stigma, tipping a long style. There is a touch of brown on the base of the middle petal-lobes, otherwise the color of the flower is an intense, vivid scarlet. Scarcely is such a rich color to be found in any other flower Leaves, alternate, 2 or 3 inches long, ovate to lance-shape, toothed; among the flowers, bract-like. August and September.
This queenly flower is fortunately quite common. It loves the shady banks of rivers, crouching under bridges. Or it comes out boldly and rears its splendid spikes on broad and sunny banks, where the cows come to drink, among bur-reeds, sagittarias, tall rushes, and brookweeds. It cannot hide, if it would, any more than the scarlet tanager can conceal itself in the trees: It is a flower clothed with stateliness as well as beauty, and if quickly placed in water will keep fresh for many days. New England southward.
It is pleasant to think that this is one of our own plants, it being strictly indigenous to America. (See illustration, P.293.)
Cardinal-flower (Lobelia cardinalis)