Flower of the Week ~ Cardinal Flower

During the hours of this day I wander widely. I note with intense interest all the small events around me - a single cardinal flower still blooming in a wet declivity by the pond; dark bumblebees sleeping afield in Mulberry Meadow in this time of the breaking up of colonies; slender ash leaves revolving and sweeping in serpentines on the currents of Hampton Brook.

Edwin Way Teale
"A Walk Through the Year"

The cardinal flower is a native of North America,
and there are more than thirty lobelia species found
in the United States. It was one of the first plants
sent to Europe and has been cultivated there since
the early 1600’s. The cardinal flower was named
after the Roman Catholic Cardinal’s bright red robe.
The root of the cardinal flower was once thought to
be a powerful love charm. It was taken out of the
ground with much ceremony, washed thoroughly,
and then touched to each part of a person’s body.
The charm was said to work for people of all ages,
but it was supposed to work especially well for
elderly ladies.

The Cardinal Flower is a member of the bluebell
. Insects and humming birds enjoy its nectar,
but bumble bees have trouble clinging to it. Although
this flower was relatively common, people have
picked it too much, and it has become rare in some

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