Herbs or shrubs with a milky juice, alternate, exstipulate lvs. and scattered fls. Calyx 5-lobed or entire. Cor. monopetalous, irregular, split down to the base on one side. Stamens 5, free from the cor., united into a tube at least by their anthers. Ovary adherent to the calyx tube. Style 1. Stigma surrounded by a fringe. Fruit a capsule 2-3-(rarely 1-) celled. Seeds numerous, albuminous.
Genera 29, species 375, most abundant in countries near the tropics, as W. Indies, Brazil. Sandwich Islands, hut common also throughout the temperate zones.
Properties. The species of Lobelia are more or less poisonous. The milky juice is acrid and narcotic, producing effects similar to those of Tobacco. L. inflata has long been considered a remedy for spasmodic asthma, hut more recently is adopted in the regular practice of the "Botanic School" of Medicine as an emetic, expectorant and sudorific, applicable in numerous diseases. Like Aconite and other medicinal poisons, it is, of course, to be used with caution.
1. LOBE'LI A, L. (In honor of Matthias de Lobel, physician and botanist to James I.) Corolla tubular, irregular, cleft nearly to the base on the upper side, upper lip of 2 separate lobes, lower 3-lobed ; stamens with the anthers united above into a curved tube; stigma 2-lobed ; capsule opening at the summit; seeds minute.-Herbaceous plants, with the fls. axillary and solitary, or in terminal, bracted racemes.
¶ Corolla bright red or scarlet, large....................................................................
Nos. 1, 2
¶ Corolla blue, often pale, or variegated with white. (*)
* Calyx lobes auriculate at base and often denticulate, (a)
a Leaves acute or somewhat acuminate....................
Nos. 3 - 5
a Leaves obtuse or scarcely acute.............................
Nos. 6, 7
* Calyx lobes not auricled, entire, (b)
b Leaves cauline,-denticulate. Stem simple............
Nos. 8, 9
-denticulate. Stem branching.
Nos. 10, 11
-entire. Stem very slender............
b Leaves radical or nearly so. Stem naked......
1 L. cardinalis L. Cardinal Flower. St. simple, glabrous; lvs. oblong-lanceolate, slightly toothed, acute at each end, sessile; fls. in a terminal, bracted, secund raceme; stam. longer than the corolla.-A tall species frequent in meadows and along streams, Can. to Car.W. to Ill. St. 2 to if high, often quite glabrous as well as the whole plant. Lvs. 2 to 4' by 8 to 15", usually denticulate-. Fls. on short pedicels, few or numerous, in a superb, nodding raceme. Bracts linear-subulate, much shorter than the flowers. Cor. deep scarlet, near 2' in length. Jl., Aug.† -A variety from Potsdam, N. Y., has the leaves all entire. Another var. from Mass. has white corollas with more narrow segments.
2 L. fulgens "Willd. Mexican Cardinal Flower. St. erect, simple, pubescent ; lvs. pubescent, narrow-lanceolate, acuminate, subentire and rovoluto at edge; raceme many-flowered; stam. the length of the corolla.-Cultivated. Even superior in size and splendor to No. 1. Stems 3 to 5f high, racemes 2 to 3f long. † Mexico. (Banks of the Mississippi, Pursh. Probably an error.)
3 L. syphilitica L. Blue Cardinal Flower. St. erect, simple; lvs. oblong-lanceolate, acuto or acuminate, unequally serrate, somewhat hirsute; rac. leafy; cal. hispidly ciliate, with the sinuses reflexed.- A showy plant, in wet meadows and along streams, U. S. and Can., more common in the W. States. Stem erect, 2-4f. high, simple, angular. Lvs. acute at each end, hairy. Fls. 1' long, light blue, showy, each solitary in the axil of a lance-ovate bract. July.
β. candidus. Corollas pure white. A singular variety found at Poughkeepsie, N. Y., by G. M. Wilbur; also, Wayne Co., by E. L. Hankenson.
4 L. glanduldsa Walt. Pubescent or nearly glabrous, simple; lvs. linear-lanceolate, rather acute, sessile, glandular-denticulate ; fls. few, rather large; cal. tube short, hispid or pubescent, lobes lanceolate, cordate or somewhat auriculate at base, mostly denticulate, half as long as the stamens, which are but half the length of the corolla.- In damp barrens, Va. to Fla. and La. Sts. 18' to 2f high. Lvs. 1 to 3' long. Fls. 9" long, blue. Pedicel3 2 to 3". Varies much in pubescence. Sept., Oct.
5 L. Ludoviciana. Hispidly pubescent, strict, erect, simple; lvs. small, crowded, oblong-linear, sessile, strongly denticulate; fls. subsessile; cal. truncate at base, densely hispid, segm. ovate-acuminate, half the length of the corolla, densely fim-briate-toothed.-La. (Hale). A plant widely different from the foregoing. Height 1 to 2f. Lvs. less than 1' long, 1 to 2" wide, all similar (radical not seen). Cor. blue, 8 to 9" long, hispid.
6 L. leptostachys A. DC. Glabrous; st. erect, virgate, simple; lvs. oblong-lanceolate, minutely-denticulate, sessile; fls. subsessile, small, not secund, in a long, slender spike, cal. segm. lanceolate-acuminate, longer than the tube of the corolla; bracts lance-linear, denticulate, longer than the pedicels.-Prairies, W. States to La. St. 1 to 2f high. Lvs. 1 to 2' by 4 to 8". Rac. 6 to 12" in length, the bracts and sepals rather conspicuous. Fls. light-blue, about 4" long. Much resembles L. spicata. Jl.
7 L. puberula Mx. Soft puberulent; st. erect, simple; lvs. ovate-oblong or elliptical, obtuse, sessile, repand-denticulate; rac. spicate, secund; fls. large; cal. ciliate, the segments shorter than the tube of the corolla.- Wet grounds, Ohio,
Perm, to Ga. and La. St. 12-30' high, scarcely furrowed. Lvs. covered with a short, downy or silky pubescence, 1 to 2' in length and half as wide. Fls. twice larger than in No. 7, on very short pedicels, each solitary in the axil of an ovate-lanceolate bract, forming a one-sided raceme, leafy below. Cal. hairy at base. Cor. of a bright purplish blue. Jl.
8 L. amcena Mx. Erect, simple, glabrous (rarely a little pubescent); lvs. lanceolate, attenuated at each end, the lower petiolate, repand-denticulate; fls. large, secund; calyx-tube abrupt at base, very short, lobes subulate nearly as long as the corolla.-Ditches and damp soils, Va. to Ga. Sts. 1 to 3f high, with numerous fls. of a bright blue. Lvs. 2 to 3' (4 to 6', Nutt.) long. Corolla about 10" long. Differs from No. 7 in its pointed, smooth lvs., sepals without auricles, etc. Pedicels very short Sept., Oct
9 L. spicata Lam. Puberulent; st. erect, simple; lvs. oblong, sessile, mostly obtuse, obscurely denticulate, radical ones spatulate; fls. (small) usually crowded, in a long, slender raceme ; pedicels as long as the flowers, or entire, subulate bracts; sep. subulate, as long as the tube of the corolla.- Fields and prairies, Can. and U. S. St. 1 1/2 to 2f high, somewhat grooved, few-leaved, ending in a spike-like raceme 6 to 10' long. Cor. pale blue, 3 to 4" long, the palate bidentate. Jl- Sept.-Differs from No. 6 in its slender pedicels, absence of auricles, etc. (L. Claytonia Mx.) With a loose fewer-flowered raceme, it is the same as L. pallida Muhl.
10 L. inflata L. Indian Tobacco. St. hairy, branched, erect; lvs. ovate-lanceolate, sessile, serrate, pilous; caps, inflated.- In fields and woods, Can. and U. S. Root fibrous. Stem erect, very rough, angular, simple, becoming branched in proportion to the luxuriance of the growth, 10-15' high. Leaves elliptical, sessile, hairy and veiny. Flowers in leafy spikes, axillary, peduncled. Corolla small, pale blue, leaving an oval, turgid capsule in the calyx. Jl.-Sept-This plant is much renowned in Pharmacy. See remarks under the order.
11 L. Boykinii Torr. & Gr. St. glabrous, branched, branches erect, virgate; lvs. linear, erect, glandular-denticulate; fls. on slender, flattened pedicels in long, loose racemes; cal turbinate, with lance-linear, acuminate segm.-Wet soils, Ga. and Flo. We merely saw this species in the herbarium of Dr. Curtis.
12 L. Nuttallii DC. Glabrous; st. erect, very slender, almost filiform, subsim-ple; lvs. few and remote, subentire, radical linear-spatulate, cauline, rather acute; fls. few, remote; pedicels as long as the corolla; calyx-tube almost none.-An exceedingly slender plant, around sandy swamps, L. Isl. to Car., 1 to 2f high, often branched. Lvs. 6 to 12" by 1 to 1 1/2". Pedicels 3 to 10" long, blue as well as the flowers. Jl, Aug.
13 L. Kalmii L. Glabrous; st. slender, erect; radical lvs. spatulate, stem lvs. linear-lanceolate, obtuse. rac. lax, few-flowered, leafy; pedicels longer than the flower, minutely bracteolate; cal. tube obovate.-A small and delicate species, in-sphagnous or rocky banks of streams, Me. (Miss Towle), to Niagara and Wis. St 6 to 12' high, commonly simple. Lvs. sessile, l' long and 1 to 2 ' wide, upper ones entire, lower with remote, minute teeth. Fls. remote, axillary to bracts. Cor. pale blue, the 3 lower segments obovate. Aug.
14 L. paluddsa Nutt Lvs. linear-spatulate, thickish, obtuse, petiolate; scape with a few small, linear bracts, simple; fls. loosely racemed, pedicels about as long as the calyx segments.-In bogs Del. to Fla. and La. Scapes 2 to 3f. Lvs. few, near the base, 5 to 10' long, 5 or 6" wide, slightly glandular-crenate. Fls. pale blue, rather larger than No. 13 (6" long). Apr.-Jn.
15 L. Dortmanna L. Lvs. submerged, tufted, linear, entire, hollow with 2 longitudinal cells, short, obtuse; scape simple, nearly naked; fls. in a terminal raceme, remote, pedicellate, nodding.- A curious aquatic, growing in ponds, N. States to Ga., the flowers only rising above the water. St. erect, hollow, long, bearing above the surface a raceme of 3 or 4 remote, pedicillate flowers. Lvs. radical, erect, recurved at the top, 2' long. Fls. pale blue. Caps, half free, lipped with the style. Jl
16 L. Erynus L. Glabrous, slender, diffuse; lvs. toothed, the lower elliptical, petiolate, the upper lance-linear; fls. scattered, small; cor. blue with a white palate ; sepals linear.- S. Africa. Pretty in pots, †
17 L. Douglassii. Glabrous, sparingly branched ; st. slender, angular; lvs. sessile, ovate, 3-veined; ova. sessile, long-acuminate, triangular, contorted, much longer than the leaves; cor. blue, with a white spot in the middle of the lower lip.-Native of the Rocky Mts., etc. A beautiful annual, with bright-blue flowers.† (Clintonia, Doug.)