What are those beautiful red flowers by the footbridge?

By September 12, 2017 Blog

What are those beautiful red flowers by the footbridge?

If you’ve stayed at our property, you may have noticed some beautiful red flowers speckling the foliage around the footbridge. These are called “Lobelia Cardinalis”, but locals simply call them “Cardinal Plants.” They grow wild on our property and are in bloom in the summer months.

You may also notice some beautiful hummingbirds hanging around the flowers. The bright red color and sweet nectar attract many types of hummingbirds. Another fun fact is that the Penobscot Tribe of Maine would smoke the leaves! Please do not try smoking the leaves while on vacation as we have no idea of the health consequences!

More About the Flowers

It is a perennial herbaceous plant that grows up to 1.2 m (4 ft) tall and is found in wet places, streambanks, and swamps. The leaves are up to 20 cm (8 in) long and 5 cm (2 in) broad, lanceolate to oval, with a toothed margin. The flowers are usually vibrant red, deeply five-lobed, up to 4 cm across; they are produced in an erect raceme up to 70 cm (28 in) tall during the summer to fall. Forms with white (f. alba) and pink (f. rosea) flowers are also known.

Lobelia cardinalis is related to two other Lobelia species in to the Eastern United States, Lobelia inflata (Indian tobacco) and Lobelia siphilitica (great lobelia); all display the characteristic “lip” petal near the opening of the flower and the “milky” liquid the plant excretes. L. siphilitica has blue flowers and is primarily pollinated by bees, whereas L. cardinalis is red and is primarily pollinated by the ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris).

via Wikipedia

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