Of the dozen or so plants in the genus Lobelia, there are three species that are fairly common in Pittsylvania County.
- The red cardinal flower (L. cardinalis) is likely the most often noticed because of its brilliant color and habit of flowering in swampy areas and along stream banks. Cardinal flowers can often surprise you by having terminal stalks of red, bright scarlet, rich vermilion, or rarely pale white flowers.
- Because of its small flowers, the white Indian-tobacco (L. inflata) is commonly overlooked. However, the medicinal qualities are well known as producing a drug that inhibits the use of smoking tobacco.
- As for the bluish lobelia flower (L. puberula), it is similar to two other bluish lobelias found in the moist or dry woodlands of Pittsylvania County. Generally, it is known that a flowering species in the genus Lobelia is probably poisonous to livestock and humans.
Copyright © 2004 William T. Hathaway.