Wildflower article – Cardinal flower

Cardinal flower

by Eleanor Dietrich, Florida Panhandle Wildflower Alliance

This bright red wildflower (Lobelia cardinalis) stands out like a flag as it grows in wet areas along roadsides and waterways.

It is in the same genus as some of the blue lobelias that also bloom in the late summer and fall.

The shape of the lobelia flower is distinctive with a 3-lobed lower lip, and two smaller upturned upper lobes.

In this particular lobelia, the stamens and pistil are contained in a tube in the center of the flower, topped by gray fuzzy anthers and white style branches. It is a tall erect plant, and can grow up to six feet, with a stout stem.