The Cardinal Flower is one of the most striking and attractive of our showy flowers. It possesses the most gorgeous, glowing red colouring imaginable, and because of its unsurpassing vividness and brilliancy, its beauty is its undoing. It is a target for every ruthless, clasping hand that can reach it, and for this reason it is rapidly becoming exterminated. In intensity of colouring it is the Scarlet Tanager of the wild flowers. The usually single, rather large, slightly angular, smoothish stalk is leafy and hollow, and grows from two to four and a half feet high, from perennial off-shoots. The thin, smooth, or slightly hairy leaves are oblong to lance-shaped. They are irregularly toothed, and the upper ones clasp the stalk. The colour is dark green. The numerous, deep cardinal flowers are gathered in a loose and often onesided terminal spike. The tube-like corolla, which is an inch long, is split down the upper side, and has five narrow, pointed, flaring, velvety lobes. These lobes are bent at right angles, the three central ones set together, and partly separated from the other two; which stand somewhat erect or recurved, and at right angles with the central one, and opposite each other. The five stamens are united in a tube around the style, and stand out, far beyond the throat of the flower, with a prominent, curving tip. The green calyx has five long, slender parts. Occasionally the flowers are pinkish or white. The Cardinal Flower is found in very moist situations, commonly on the banks of streams and ditches from July to September, from Florida, Texas, and Kansas, well into Canada.
CARDINAL FLOWER. RED LOBELIA. Lobelia cardinalis.