Cardinal Flower, Lobelia cardinalis 

This North American native perennial blooms August through September on tall 3-4’ tall spikes. A member of the bellflower family (Campanulaceae), it grows best in part shade here in the south and thrives in wet soil, making it a good selection for naturalizing along stream beds and creeks. Because the leaves and fruit are poisonous (it contains alkaloids similar to those found in nicotine), it is not bothered by deer or rabbits, allowing it to grow and bloom freely in a woodland setting. The long red tubular flowers rely on hummingbirds for pollination, but it also attracts butterflies. Combine it with other wildflowers, perennials, and native plants for use in a wildlife habitat.  

The genus, Lobelia, was  named after the Flemish botanist, Matthias de L’Obel (1538-1616), and its species name cardinalis (Latin: “of a cardinal”) refers to the scarlet color of the cardinal bird. 

Whence is yonder flower so strangely bright?

  Would the sunset’s last reflected shine

Flame so red from that dead flush of light?

  Dark with passion is its lifted line,

Hot, alive, amid the falling night.

Dora Read Goodale—Cardinal Flower.

Illustration: Sydenham Edwards (1817) 

National Pollinator Week: JUNE 17-23, 2013 
Why you should care about the pollinators (pollinator.org):-   Approximately 1,000 plants worldwide need to be pollinated by animals to produce the food, medicine, and goods on which we depend. -   About 200,000 species of animals act as pollinators: 1,000 of those are hummingbirds, bats, and small animals, and the rest are insects like beetles, wasps, bees, moths and butterflies. -   Some plants depend upon a single pollinator species. If the pollinator disappears, so does the plant that produces that food or beverage. These interdependent foods include blueberries, chocolate, melons, almonds, and others.  -   75% of all flowering plants rely on animal pollinators. 
For a list of crops pollinated by bees, click HERE. 
The Xerces Society has a Pollinator Conservations Resource Guide, for different regions of the United States, HERE. 

National Pollinator Week: JUNE 17-23, 2013 

Why you should care about the pollinators (pollinator.org):
-   Approximately 1,000 plants worldwide need to be pollinated by animals to produce the food, medicine, and goods on which we depend. 
-   About 200,000 species of animals act as pollinators: 1,000 of those are hummingbirds, bats, and small animals, and the rest are insects like beetles, wasps, bees, moths and butterflies. 
-   Some plants depend upon a single pollinator species. If the pollinator disappears, so does the plant that produces that food or beverage. These interdependent foods include blueberries, chocolate, melons, almonds, and others.  
-   75% of all flowering plants rely on animal pollinators. 

For a list of crops pollinated by bees, click HERE

The Xerces Society has a Pollinator Conservations Resource Guide, for different regions of the United States, HERE

Crepis virens (Hawk’s Beard, aka garden weed). Flora Batava (Plants of the Netherlands, 1877), Vol. 15. 
Crepis Virens: “Crepis, Pliny, is from the Greek crepis, a kind of boot; and the second Latin name means green, fresh. It was called Hawkbit because the hawk was supposed to pluck it and smear its eyes with it to improve its vision.” ~British Wildflowers in Their Natural Haunts (1919)

Crepis virens (Hawk’s Beard, aka garden weed). Flora Batava (Plants of the Netherlands, 1877), Vol. 15. 

Crepis Virens: “Crepis, Pliny, is from the Greek crepis, a kind of boot; and the second Latin name means green, fresh. It was called Hawkbit because the hawk was supposed to pluck it and smear its eyes with it to improve its vision.” ~British Wildflowers in Their Natural Haunts (1919)

Botanical Chart: Pollination and Pollinators, University of Wisconsin. 
Celebrate National Pollinator Week: June 17-23, 2013
Flowering plants are intimately tied to wind, water, and especially animals to make seeds and complete their life cycles. Showy flowers, big and small, owe their size, shape, perfume and color to the preferences of critters; insects especially may share any number of blooms from different plant species. This poster illustrates the kaleidoscopic diversity of both the flowers and their pollinators (the astute observer will note that bumblebees love blue).
(Available for purchase from the University of Wisconsin.)

Botanical Chart: Pollination and Pollinators, University of Wisconsin. 

Celebrate National Pollinator Week: June 17-23, 2013

Flowering plants are intimately tied to wind, water, and especially animals to make seeds and complete their life cycles. Showy flowers, big and small, owe their size, shape, perfume and color to the preferences of critters; insects especially may share any number of blooms from different plant species. This poster illustrates the kaleidoscopic diversity of both the flowers and their pollinators (the astute observer will note that bumblebees love blue).

(Available for purchase from the University of Wisconsin.)

Wildflowers Every Child Should Know (1909) by Frederic William Stack. Stack was a field collector for the Scientific Section, Vassar Brothers Institute; and Natural History at Vassar College. 
To my bonny boy, whose many inquiries have suggested this undertaking, I owe my everlasting gratitude and affection.  ~ Frederic William Stack, New Rochelle, New York, April 1909 (Preface)