Thursday, July 21, 2011

Look For It Now: Spiked Lobelia

In July, it's easy to overlook many of Vermont's smaller wildflowers as the showstoppers -- wild bergamot, Queen Anne's lace, Black-eyed Susans and purple loosestrife -- gain height and vie for bees' attention with their bright colors and big flower heads. But a closer look at the forest floor and in-between meadow stalks reveals some pretty amazing -- albeit very small -- wildflowers.

Spiked lobelia (Lobelia spicata) is one such native flower. At home in meadows and thickets, this flower has a spike-like cluster of small bluish-white flowers on a slender stalk. Each flower has the telltale "lobelia look" of two narrow lobes above three wider lobes below. The stalk itself can grow up to 4 feet, but with tiny flowers measuring only about 1/3-inch long, this pretty gal is easy to miss. Spiked lobelia is blooming now through August, so head outside and look for it now.


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