Great Blue Lobelia – Lobelia siphilitica L.

lobelia siphilitica_1THE GREAT BLUE LOBELIA ( Lobelia siphilitica L.) belongs to the  Campanulaceae  family

Lobelia and bumble bee_1

It is the grand lady of the late summer flowers and a favorite of bumble bees

and butterflies.

The plant was once thought to be effective in the treatment of syphilis, hence its name. Indians did, indeed, make a root tea out of this beautiful plant for treatment of syphilis as well as a variety of other medical problems.

The great blue lobelia has rich blue flowers about an inch long that have a white center. They grow on a stem 2-3 feet in height.  They are a temperamental perennial which prefer moist summers. This summer has been particularly rainy and the lobelias have taken over!  They grow in roadsides, open fields, and woods and don’t seem to mind being mowed down in early summer as they bloom so late they have plenty of time to grow back up!

Brought into the garden, great blue lobelia plants are a faithful perennial and make a great addition to a flower bed in late summer. In the photograph below it is a nice counterpoint to a bed of pink Sedum.  They bloom at the same time and give bumble bees, butterflies, and occasional humming birds a big thrill.

Lobelia in the garden

Great blue lobelia Great lobelia in the garden

Lobelia and bumble bee_5 Lobelia and bumble bee_4 Lobelia and bumble bee_1

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