Cardinal-flower is a member of the lobelia family.
It is a striking plant of stream banks and damp meadows.
Cardinal Flower grows 2 – 5 feet in height.
Here is where the name comes from:
I’ll be exploring the Ottawa area for a few days and these photos come from a stream side near a village north of there on the Québec side:
The sun went down in beauty,
Peacefully sank to rest,
Leaving its golden reflection
On the great Mississippi’s breast;
Gleaming on the turbulent river,
In the coming gray twilight,
Soothing its restless surging,
And kissing its waters goodnight. – George Marion McClellan (1860–1934)
Cardinal Flower is one of my favorites and one year I actually planted four of them that I bought at the plant nursery. They were a new plant the nursery was carrying and quite expensive. I planted them in a damp corner where an underground stream from the ravine briefly came to the surface. They looked stunning and I congratulated my good taste and excellent placement. 24 hours later the plants were in tatters and covered in countless numbers of slugs happy I had fed them their apparently favorite food. No plants have ever been devoured in my garden so quickly.
The origin of the name is interesting.
Thank you Miles.
Ah, splendid! (I don’t mean the devouring of the flowers mentioned above, though the slugs were happy, as you say, Patricia–I love your rueful good humour!) Thanks for sharing Quebec and Ottawa with us, Miles.
I’ve always loved the intense red of these flowers, and the other plants and bugs are wonderful, too!