Lobelia cardinalis is also known as Lobelia splendors, Lobelia fulgent, Cardinal Flower, Bog Sage, Hog’s Physic, Indian Pink, Red Bay, Scarlet Lobelia, Slinkweed, or Water Gladiole. It is part of the Campanulaceae family of plants. It is native to the Americas from Southern Canada south to Colombia. It is usually found in wet landscapes by streams or swamps. Lobelia cardinalis is an upright, clump-forming herbaceous perennial plant. Lobelia cardinalis can grow to 90cm or 3ft tall. It has oblong green leaves. The flowers are crimson or red and deeply five-lobed that appear on terminal spikes in summer and autumn. It was introduced to Europe around 1620 named originally the Cardinal Flower.
Plant Lobelia cardinalis in full sun or partial shade, in moist and fertile soil that is well-drained. Propagate by seed or cuttings in late summer or by dividing. Cut it back after the flowering season is over. Watch out for slugs, snails, or leaf spot. Lobelia cardinalis attracts hummingbirds, butterflies, and pollinators, but they are deer-resistant and rabbit-resistant. Deadhead flowers for more blooms.
Historically the plant was used to make Schumaakwe cake by Zuni people, the native American in the Zuni River area in western New Mexico. Also, the plant leaves were dried and smoked instead of tobacco by Penobscot people, indigenous people who lived in the Atlantic provinces and Quebec.