Wildflower Wednesday: Cardinal Flower

Cardinal Flower

Common Name: Cardinal Flower

Scientific Name: Lobelia cardinalis

Habitat & Range: wet, shady streams and wetlands

Bloom Time: summer and fall

About: Not too many wildflowers in Michigan are this striking red. Not easy to grow in a garden (unless you have a pretty good pond on your property) the Cardinal Flower needs wet roots and a bit of sunlight. You can find it at a really well-stocked nursery or a native plant sale (this is another I tried unsuccessfully in my garden) but NEVER dig from the wild. Cardinal Flowers can only be pollinated by hummingbirds and thus don’t reproduce well. If you already have them established, lucky you! Otherwise, just take some nice pictures. Mine are from the shores of Thumb Lake at Camp Lake Louise. Like the bird, the plant gets its common name from the robes worn by Catholic cardinals.

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Reference: Wildflowers of Michigan by Stan Tekiela; Adventure Publications, 2000

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