Summer and early autumn.
Flowers: growing closely in a leafy panicle. Calyx: of five very sharply pointed petals. Corolla: tubular; two-lipped; the upper lip divided into two pointed lobes; the lower one three-lobed. Stamens; five; coloured; united about the pistil and apparently splitting open the tube of the corolla. Pistil: one; curved; stigma fringed. Leaves: alternate; lanceolate; toothed; the upper surface smooth. Stem: one to three feet high; erect; leafy; angular.
When by some leafy, shady brook-side we find this flower, it appeals to us as very striking and pretty; and it seems almost cruel to place it by the side of its relative, the cardinal flower, as it must naturally pale greatly by comparison. It is a tall, hairy plant, and its blue, although fading to almost white, is sufficiently noticeable to attract the insects' attention. Both of these flowers are cleverly designed for cross-fertilization. The generic name lobelia has become so familiar to us that we use it freely and are unconscious,of its being more difficult to manage than the common name. In this connection it comes to the mind to ask if not all botanical names would become equally simple if we would but put ourselves on closer terms of intimacy with them.
L. spicata is also found in moist, open places. Its stem is high; but its flowers are considerably smaller than those of the species described above.