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Wasowski, Sally and Andy
Lobelia siphilitica L.
Great blue lobelia
USDA Symbol: LOSI
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
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 CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Flower:
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Blue
Bloom Time: Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct
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
, 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 USDA Native Status: L48(N), CAN(N)
Growing ConditionsLight 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.
BenefitWarning: 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
PropagationDescription: 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
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Recommended Species Lists
Find native plant species by state. Each list contains commercially available species suitable for gardens and planned landscapes. Once you have selected a collection, you can browse the collection or search within it using the combination search.
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Record Modified: 2012-12-07
Research By: TWC Staff