Pitcher Plant Family
Water Lily Family
Water Plantian Family
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( Originally Published 1908 )
CARDINAL FLOWER. For brilliance of color no blossom in our summer fields can compare with the Cardinal Flower, which holds its flaming spikes on tall, erect stems in marshes, and along margins of brooks and ditches. It is a water lover and is to be found only where its roots can reach an abundance of moisture. Even there it is seldom very abundant; we more often see a dozen or two plants together than a greater number, and even these are likely to disappear in regions where people can easily gather them. The blossoms appear to be especially adapted to pollination by humming-birds, which love brilliant hues of red and freely visit many sorts of red flowers.
"Along the roadside, like the flowers of gold That tawny Incas for their gardens wrought, Heavy with sunshine droops the goldenrod, And the red pennons of the cardinal flower Hang motionless upon their upright staves."
The Cardinal Flower is the most conspicuous member of the Lobelia family, which includes several other species that may frequently be found along the borders of damp woods and the margins of slow-running streams.