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NPIN: Native Plant Database

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Lobelia siphilitica (Great blue lobelia)
Bloodworth, Stefan

Lobelia siphilitica

Lobelia siphilitica L.

Great blue lobelia

Campanulaceae (Bellflower Family)

Synonym(s):

USDA Symbol: LOSI

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

This showy perennial is usually unbranched but may exhibit some branching. The erect, 2-3 ft., stems produce lavender-blue, tubular flowers crowded together on the upper stem. Showy, bright blue flowers are in the axils of leafy bracts and form an elongated cluster on a leafy stem. Each flower is split into two lips – the upper lip has two segments and the lower lip has three.

This blue counterpart of the Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis) is a most desirable plant for woodland gardens especially since it blooms bright blue in late summer. The unfortunate species name, siphilitica, is based on the fact that it was a supposed cure for syphilis.

 

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Flower:
Fruit:
Size Class: 1-3 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Blue
Bloom Time: Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct

Distribution

USA: AL , AR , CO , CT , DC , DE , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , SC , SD , TN , TX , VA , VT , WI , WV , WY
Canada: NB , NS , ON
Native Distribution: CT to extreme s.e. ND & Goshen Co., WY, s. to GA uplands, TX & CO
Native Habitat: Open, wet woods; stream banks; marshes; meadows

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
Drought Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Clay, Loam, Sand
Conditions Comments: Not at all drought tolerant, keep soil moist, watering if necessary in average soil conditions.

Benefit

Warning: POISONOUS PARTS: All parts. Toxic only if eaten in large quantities. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, salivation, exhaustion and weakness, dilation of pupils, convulsions, and coma. Toxic Principle: Alkaloids lobelamine, lobeline, and others, plus a volatile oil. (Poisonous Plants of N.C.)

Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Birds , Hummingbirds

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees
Special Value to Bumble Bees
Supports Conservation Biological Control

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

Propagation

Description: To propagate, divide clumps in the spring or scatch stratified seed lightly onto the soil surface.
Seed Collection: Approximate collection date in northern U.S.: Mid Sep. to Nov.
Seed Treatment: Moist stratification for 2 months at 40 degrees.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Native plants to stop pond bank erosion
June 04, 2008
I recently purchased a home with a small pond in which a nearby stream daylights. The former owner placed large field stone around the pond and the small stream; however, the area around the pond and...
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May 08, 2007
I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on Saturday April 21. What a beautiful place. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit. I was wondering how I could find out w...
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National Wetland Indicator Status

Region:AGCPAKAWCBEMPGPHIMWNCNEWMVE
Status: OBL FACW OBL OBL FACW OBL
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Suppliers Directory

According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:

Edge of the Woods Native Plant Nursery - Orefield, PA
Amandas Garden - Springwater, NY
Sunshine Farm & Gardens - Renick, WV
Enchanter's Garden - Hinton, WV
Ohio Prairie Nursery - Hiram, OH
American Native Nursery - Quakertown, PA
Toadshade Wildflower Farm - Frenchtown, NJ
Prairie Nursery - Westfield, WI

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Native Plant Center at Westchester Community College, The - Valhalla, NY
Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
* Available Online from Wildflower Center Store

Bibliography

Bibref 928 - 100 easy-to-grow native plants for Canadian gardens (2005) Johnson, L.; A. Leyerle
Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 946 - Gardening with Prairie Plants: How to Create Beautiful Native Landscapes (2002) Wasowski, Sally
* The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Lobelia siphilitica in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Lobelia siphilitica in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Lobelia siphilitica

Metadata

Record Modified: 2014-09-10
Research By: TWC Staff

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