A tall, stiffly erect herb, 11/2 to 4 feet high with smooth stems from a perennial root, rarely branched, leafy, bearing an elongated, rather onesided raceme or spike of several or many bright-red flowers, subtended by leaflike bracts. Leaves thin, somewhat toothed, oblong-lanceolate, 2 to 6 inches long, one-fourth to 11/2 inches wide, pointed at both ends, and alternate on the stem, the upper leaves becoming successively smaller. Flowers with a five-cleft calyx; corolla five-lobed, about 1 inch long, two-lipped, the lower lip conspictiously cleft into three prominent, spreading lobes, upper lip erect with two small lobes. Stamens five, free from the corolla and united by their anthers to form a tube around the style, two of the anthers possessing hairy tufts at the summit; stigma two-lobed. Fruit a two-celled, many-seeded pod, opening at the top.

Low or wet ground in meadows, swamps and marshes, or in wet grassy places along streams or ditches. New Brunswick to Ontario, south to Florida and Texas, west to Kansas and Colorado. Flowering from July to September.

Memoir 15 N. Y. State Museum

Plate 220

Cardinal Flower; Red Lobelia   Lobelia cardinalis

Cardinal Flower; Red Lobelia - Lobelia cardinalis