Great Blue Lobelia can be found growing east of the Rockies, partial to swamps, stream banks, wetlands, roadside ditches and moist woodlands.
The densely covered flower stalks average 2-4 feet in height, usually unbranching (but they will occasionally branch, especially if eaten or cut down).
Other synonyms for Great Blue Lobelia include Blue Cardinal Flower and Highbelia.
Downy Lobelia's flower stalk isn't so densely packed as Great Blue Lobelia, and the flowers are only on one side of the raceme.
However, its list of historical medicinal uses is a long one.
Some tribes did use it to treat venereal disease, although it wasn't found to be effective when used in Europe. However, Native Americans used the fresh root (which contains the volatile oils) and also used it along with Mayapple (Podopyllum pelatum) and Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana).
A tea was brewed for stomach ailments and a poultice of crushed leaves was applied to the head to relieve headaches.
Some tribes believed that if you secretly added the finely ground roots to the food of an arguing couple, that their anger would disappear and their love for one another would be rekindled.
Great Blue Lobelia is beloved by pollinators, attracting mostly long-tonged bees, but also the occasional butterfly or hummingbird.
It also holds up quite well in flower arrangements.
Great Blue Lobelia can still be found hanging on, peering out of the brush in tucked away gorges and sheltered stream banks during these first few weeks of autumn. Its stunning blue blossoms are all the more conspicuous, now that the foliage is beginning to blaze.
Be sure to join us for next Wednesday's wildflower!
Click here to read about last week's wildflower, Jerusalem Artichoke.
Medicinal information herein is shared strictly for anecdotal purposes. Do not attempt to self-medicate with wild herbs. Please consult a doctor first.
Plants for a Future
Wildflowers of Tennessee, the Ohio Valley and the Southern Appalachians - Dennis Horn & Tavia Cathcart
Cherokee Plants and their Uses - a 400 Year History - Paul B. Hamel & Mary U. Chiltoskey
Shared on: Homestead Blog Hop, Wake Up Wednesday, Green Thumb Thursday, Weekend Blog Hop, Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop, Simply Natural Saturdays, Clever Chicks Blog Hop, Thank Goodness It's Monday, Wordless Wednesday