great blue lobelia
Here’s a cousin of yesterday’s unbelievably red flower. Like the cardinal flower, great blue lobelia is a plant of wet places. This single plant was growing right at the water’s edge near Fletcher’s Clove in the lower Potomac Gorge (in Washington, DC.). I looked all around for others, by boat and on foot, but this was the only plant I could find.
Getting good pictures of it was darn near impossible. I could only get so close in the kayak, there was no place to land, and the sun was in a less-than-ideal position.
seen from the water, mid afternoon
When I went back a few days later to try from the shore, I still couldn’t get close: the bank was too steep, I couldn’t maneuver to different positions, and the sun was, again, not cooperating.
the very same plant, seen from the land three days later, early afternoon
Great blue lobelia is found in the US and Canada from the east coast to the Great Plains. It’s listed as possibly extirpated in Maine, endangered in Massachusetts, and exploitably vulnerable in New York.
Twenty seven native species of lobelia can be found in the US, eight of which occur in Maryland*. One of these, Indian tobacco, is fairly common in the Carderock-Marsden Tract area.
*per the Maryland Biodiversity website