by Eleanor Dietrich, Panhandle Wildflower Alliance
There are fifteen different kinds (species) of Lobelia that grow in Florida, and thirteen of them can be found in the panhandle area. They range from white to blue in color, and different species bloom at different times of the year from spring through fall, and many of them are blooming now. The shape of the flower of a Lobelia is generally common among all species – one lower larger three-lobed lip, and one upper smaller two-lobed lip that is usually curved backwards. In 2016 a new species was identified, Lobelia apalachicolensis, and it has only been found in four counties – Leon, Franklin, Wakulla and Liberty. It grows in sunny wet ditches and is very tall and spectacular with flower colors ranging from light to dark blue. A distinguishing feature is that the sap is yellow.