Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Great Blue Lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica)

September 15th, 2012. We drove over Patterson Gap Road from Betty’s Creek Road to Persimmon Road. Patterson Gap lies on the Tennessee Valley Divide in the Chattahoochee National Forest. The road is graveled and water erosion has produced some rough sections.

Our first find was Lobelia siphilitica (Great Blue Lobelia), named because it was believed to be a cure for syphilis. They were blooming beside the road in a moist, shaded area. I had to use artificial light to photograph the flowers. The photographs don’t adequately show how intensely blue the flowers are.

The plant was about 15 to 18 inches tall

Closer views of the flower stem. The characteristic hairy calyces are clearly visible.

The leaf

The tip of the flowering stem

Flowers with immature anther tubes. The characteristic hairy calyces are clearly visible.

Flowers with mature anthers. Pollen is visible on the upper and lower flowers.

Lobelia siphilitica (Great Blue Lobelia) is native to the United States where it’s found in states east of a line from North Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas, with the exception of Florida. In Georgia, it’s been documented only Rabun County in the far northeast and Catoosa, Dade, Walker and Floyd counties in the far northwest of the state.
Click on an image to view a larger image

Identification resources:
Missouri Plants: Lobelia siphilitica 
United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database: Lobelia siphilitica (Great Blue Lobelia)

No comments: