Cardinal flower is such a striking plant it is hard not to notice in flower. Each flower has three spreading lower petals and two upper petals, all united into a tube at the base.
Although relatively common, overpicking this handsome wildflower has resulted in its scarcity in some areas. Since most insects find it difficult to navigate the long tubular flowers, Cardinal Flower depends on hummingbirds, which feed on the nectar, for pollination. Its common name alludes to the bright red robes worn by Roman Catholic cardinals. Distinguish it from red-flowered Penstemons based on the alternate leaves with tiny teeth around the edges (Penstemon spp. always have opposite leaves). - Arizona Native Plant Society
Ecology: Found in moist soils, especially along streams, from 3,000-7,500 ft (914-2286 m).
Ethnobotany: Used medicinally to treat headaches, worms, colds, hard to heal sores, fever, stomach trouble, syphilis, typhoid, epilepsy, rheumatism, swelling, and aches and pains; also used as a love medicine.
Etymology: Lobelia is named for Matthias de l'Obel (1538-1616) a Flemish botanist; cardinalis means red.
Light Requirements: can take full sun, but does better in light to medium shade
Water: moderate to high
Soil: sandy to loamy, well drained