Lobelia spicata (Pale-spike Lobelia)
|Also known as:|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; wet meadows, prairies, open woods|
|Bloom season:||June - August|
|Plant height:||1 to 2 feet|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FAC MW: FAC NCNE: FAC|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Flowers are sparsely to densely packed in a spike-like raceme that can grow over a foot long over time. Individual flowers are about ½ inch across, pale blue to white, tubular with 2 small upper lobes that are bent back and 3 larger lower lobes that are similar in size. All lobes have pointed tips. There are 2 yellowish spots at the base of the lower lobes, and a dark blue stigma that sits between the 2 upper lobes. One plant has a single spike.
Leaves and stem:
Leaves become smaller and more widely spaced as they ascend the stem. Those at the top may only be about ½ inch long. All leaves may have small teeth around the edges, or be toothless, sparsely hairy or hairless. The main stem is angled, with 4 or 5 edges.
As Pale-spike Lobelia grows taller, it can bend and twist as if struggling to stay erect. The stems are a bit delicate, so it probably is. The Lobelia genus was once in its own Lobeliaceae family, then was moved to the Campanulaceae (Bellflower) family but is now back in Lobeliaceae. There are 2 varieties in Minnesota: var. spicata is mostly hairless, var. hirtella is mostly roughly hairy.
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Photos by K. Chayka taken at Rice Creek Trail Regional Park, Ramsey County, and Wild River State Park, Chisago County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka County.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?