Dortmanna cardinalis (L.) Kuntze
Dortmanna cordigera (Cav.) Kuntze
Dortmanna engelmanniana Kuntze
Dortmanna fulgens (Humb. & Bonpl. ex Willd.) Kuntze
Dortmanna graminea (Lam.) Kuntze
Dortmanna longifolia (C.Presl) Kuntze
Dortmanna phyllostachya (Engelm.) Kuntze
Dortmanna splendens (Humb. & Bonpl. ex Willd.) Kuntze
Lobelia coccinea (Moench) Stokes
Lobelia cordigera Cav.
Lobelia fulgens Humb. & Bonpl. ex Willd.
Lobelia graminea Lam.
Lobelia ignea Paxton
Lobelia kerneri L.Nagy
Lobelia longifolia (C.Presl) A.DC.
Lobelia marryattiae Paxton
Lobelia mucronata Engelm.
Lobelia phyllostachya Engelm.
Lobelia porphyrantha Decne. ex Groenland
Lobelia princeps Otto & A.Dietr.
Lobelia propinqua J.W.Loudon
Lobelia punicea Otto & A.Dietr.
Lobelia ramosa Burb.
Lobelia schiedeana Heynh.
Lobelia splendens Humb. & Bonpl. ex Willd.
Lobelia texensis Raf.
Rapuntium cardinale (L.) Mill.
Rapuntium coccineum Moench
Rapuntium cordigerum (Cav.) C.Presl
Rapuntium fulgens (Humb. & Bonpl. ex Willd.) C.Presl
Rapuntium gramineum (Lam.) C.Presl
Rapuntium longifolium C.Presl
Rapuntium splendens (Humb. & Bonpl. ex Willd.) C.Presl
Tupa ignescens Payer
Common Name: Cardinal Flower
Lobelia cardinalis is a herbaceous perennial plant with unbranched stems; it usually grows around 15 - 100cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine. It is commonly grown as an ornamental.
Lobelia cardinalis is widespread and while it is possibly declining in parts of its range, it is not thought that any global population decline is likely to meet (or be close to meeting) the threshold for Vulnerable. The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2016)[
Many, if not all, species in the genus Lobelia contain a range of piperidine alkaloids, particularly lobeline and lobelanine. If ingested, these can cause a range of symptoms including nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, salivation, exhaustion and weakness, dilation of pupils, convulsions, and coma. Generally, the degree of toxicity is only moderate and plants are only harmful in larger quantities - indeed several species have medicinal uses and a few are even eaten as wild foods[
N. America - California to Nebraska, Ontario and Quebec, south through the USA, Mexico, and Mesoamerica to Colombia
Damp shores, meadows and swamps[
|Conservation Status||Least Concern
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Dormant plants are hardy to at least -25°c[
], though they can be excited into premature growth in mild winter areas and are then more susceptible to frost damage[
Requires a deep rich soil and plenty of moisture[
]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Succeeds in standing water though is not then so long lived[
]. Succeeds in full sun or light shade[
]. Requires protection from the wind[
A very ornamental plant[
Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus.
Plants are particularly susceptible to damage from grazing deer[
Lobelia cardinalis is considered to have similar medicinal activity to Lobelia inflata, but in a milder form[
]. It was sometimes added to other medicines to give them more strength[
], but overalll was.seldom if ever used by native people[
The plant contains lobinaline as its main alkaloid. Lobinaline depresses blood pressure but has no influence on respiration[
The whole plant is considered to be emetic, expectorant and nervine[
]. The mashed roots, stems, leaves, and blossoms are made into a decoction and drank as a remedy for cramps[
]. The plant was also used as an emetic to treat an upset stomach caused by eating something bad[
The root is analgesic, anthelmintic, antispasmodic and stomachic[
]. A tea made from the roots has been used in the treatment of epilepsy, syphilis, typhoid, stomach aches, cramps, worms etc[
A poultice of the roots has been applied to sores that are hard to heal[
]. A decoction of the root combined with the root of Cichorium intybus ahas been used to treat fever sores[
The leaves are analgesic and febrifuge[
]. A tea made from the leaves is used in the treatment of croup, nosebleeds, colds, fevers, headaches etc[
A poultice of the leaves has been applied to the head to relieve the pain of headaches[
The plant is used to make a homeopathic remedy[
]. The report does not say which part of the plant is used, nor what it treats.
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame and only just cover the seed[
]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
Division in spring[
Basal cuttings in spring[
]. Harvest the shoots when they are about 10cm long with plenty of underground stem. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.
Layering in moist sand, it forms roots at the nodes[