?? Lobelia cardinalis aka Cardinal Flower ??
Found on the backroads of Texas
Driving along the back-roads of our area of Central Texas, I spotted in the far distance a patch of very tall bright red spheres. This is the first time in over 20 years driving the backroads of Texas I spotted any of these. I figured they had to be wildflowers — after all it is wildflower season. 😀
However, other than this particular patch in the far distance, I did not see any more along the by-ways. Hmmm, how was I going to describe to “Dr. Google” about this “new-to-me” wildflower, I really had not seen. All I knew — tall like reeds, and RED – bright enough to capture my eye from a distance!
That afternoon during our afternoon coffee break with the king of trivia (my hubby), I described what I could of them, and asked if he knew. He did not have a clue.
I prepared the photos for Ruby Tuesday. I was going to ask for my reader’s assistance. Then an idea surfaced — post on Facebook. Surely, some of my Texas peeps would know. As it turned out — My sister-in-law from Mississippi identified them for me. Da dah … they are Lobelia cardinalis L. … aka Cardinal flower … or at least we think they are!! 😀
According to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center:
“This 1-6 ft. perennial has showy, red flowers in 8 in., terminal spikes. Each flower has three spreading lower petals and two upper petals, all united into a tube at the base. Erect leafy stems, often in clusters, with racemes of flowers resembling flaming red spires. The lower portion of the erect stem is lined with lance-shaped leaves.
Although relatively common, over-picking this handsome wildflower has resulted in its scarcity in some areas. Since most insects find it difficult to navigate the long tubular flowers, Cardinal Flower depends on hummingbirds, which feed on the nectar, for pollination. Its common name alludes to the bright red robes worn by Roman Catholic cardinals.”
Sometime in the next week, Ray was driving in a different direction for a evening meeting. He called and told me to grab my camera, car keys and start driving. “I found some of those red wildflowers!” He even gave me the number of miles to prepare for spotting them. He made it sound like I could walk right up to them with ease … well, not so easy peasy. Although, I could not reach the clusters of them along the train tracks (which would have been a great photo), I was able to get close enough for a few shots in another area. I was leery in touching these — as the week before I was stung by prickly pears while photographing their blossoms. I am happy to report the spokes and the entire stalk — although durable, was quite “soft” to the touch. 😀
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I think they might be Texas Plume, aka standing cypress. I’ve only seen them once, but I’ll tell you, a stand of them along the roadside is something to see! I know they aren’t our garden salvia, but goodness, they’re beautiful.
I believe you are correct — they are quite striking. If I get to Fredericksburg this summer, I will stop by the Wild-seed Farm for some seeds for next spring/summer.
Such a treat for the hummingbirds and bees. Just beautiful!
What beautiful flowers I have not seen these before. Have a Wonderful Wednesday Too 🙂 love and hugs Sue X
Wonderful Cardinal flowers.
The red flowers are very pretty. I’ve tried to grow these red flowers in containers. Didn’t work for me. I thought they were called Salvia. Thanks to you I now know the right name.
Ahh, someone else gave me another possible identification for them — she said they were Texas Plume (Ipomopsis rubra) … also known as Standing cypress, Red Texas star, or Red gilia!