palespike lobelia

(Lobelia spicata var. spicata f. campanulata)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed

 

No image available

NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Wetland
Indicator
Status

Great Plains

FAC - Facultative

Midwest

FAC - Facultative

Northcentral & Northeast

FAC - Facultative

Nativity

Native

Occurrence

 

Habitat

Dry. Prairies, forest openings, savannas, streambanks, meadows, pastures. Full or partial sun.

Flowering

June to July

Flower Color

Pale blue or white

     
Height

8 to 40

     
 
Identification

This is a, erect, perennial forb that rises on a single stem from a taproot and fibrous roots. It can be 8 to 40 tall, but usually reaches no more than 32 in height at maturity.

The stems are erect or ascending, green, and usually unbranched. They are 4- or 5-angled, especially near the top, with narrow wings along the ridges. They are often sparsely to moderately covered with short, curved to spreading hairs near the base, becoming hairless or almost hairless near the top.

The leaves are alternate, ascending, and stalkless. The leaf blades are to 2¾ long, and to 1 wide. They are egg-shaped to egg lance-shaped, lance-shaped, or narrowly oblong. They are rounded at the tip or angled to a blunt point. The leaves toward the base are broad, becoming narrower and shorter as they ascend the stem. The base of the leaf blade is narrowed and continues down along the stalk as a pair of wings. The margins are usually untoothed and have a fringe of short, fine, spreading hairs. The upper and lower surfaces are hairless or sparsely covered with straight, stiff, sharp, appressed hairs. Basal leaves, if present, are no larger than lower stem leaves.

The inflorescence is a loosely- or densely-flowered, spike-like, unbranched, 4 to 12 long cluster (raceme) at the end of the stem. The inflorescence axis is hairless or sparsely hairy. There is a 1½ to 6 long section of bare axis between the lowermost flower and the uppermost leaf.

Each flower is borne on a to long stalk (pedicel) rising from the axil of a hairless bract. The lower bracts are leaf-like, lance-shaped, and up to 3 5 long, becoming much shorter and linear as they ascend the stem. There is also a pair of minute bracts closely subtending each calyx. The flowers are borne upside down due to the twisting of the pedicel.

Each flower is ¼ to long. At the base there are 5 green sepals (calyx) that are fused at their base into a 1 32 to 1 16 long tube, then separated into five to ¼ long lobes. The calyx tube is finely hairy or has tiny, nipple-like projections (papillae) between the ribs. The calyx lobes may or may not have ear-like projections (auricles) at the base. If auricles are present, they are minute, no more than 1 64 long. The calyx tube does not become inflated as the fruit matures.

There are 5 pale blue or white petals fused at their base into a to 3 16 long corolla tube, then separated into an upper and lower lip. The corolla tube does not have longitudinal slits. The “upper” lip (appearing lower due to the twisting of the pedicel) is large and is split into three lobes up to 3 16 long and 1 16 wide. The “lower” lip (appearing upper) is split nearly to the base into 2 much narrower lobes. The lobes of the “lower” lip are spreading, upward-curved, and up to long, with a tuft of white hairs near the base. There are 5 stamens with white anthers. The filaments are fused from just above the base into a tube surrounding the style. The anthers are fused into a ring around the style. The lower 2 anthers are shorter than the others and have white tufts of hair at the tip. The style and filament tube protrude from between the 2 lobes of the “lower” lip and bends downward near the tip. The flowers are not fragrant.

The fruit is a two-chambered, hemispherical capsule with numerous seeds.

 
Similar
Species

Brook lobelia (Lobelia kalmii) is a much smaller plant, no more than 16 tall at maturity. The leaves are held erect. Lower leaves are narrower, upper leaves are linear.

Palespike lobelia (Lobelia spicata var. hirtella) stem, bracts, calyx, and leaves below the midpoint of the stem all have stiff, spreading hairs.

Palespike lobelia (Lobelia spicata var. spicata f. campanulata) has white anthers. It occurs sporadically within populations of plants with blue anthers.

 
Distribution Distribution Map  

No information available

 
Comments

 

 
Taxonomy

Family:

Campanulaceae (bellflower)

 

Subfamily:

Lobelioideae

 
Parent

palespike lobelia (Lobelia spicata var. spicata)

 
Synonyms

Lobelia bracteata

Lobelia spicata var. originalis

Lobelia spicata var. parviflora

 
Common
Names

pale-spike lobelia

pale-spiked lobelia

palespike lobelia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Auricle

A small, ear-like projection at the base of a leaf or at the junction of a grass blade and stem.

 

Axil

The upper angle where a branch, stem, leaf stalk, or vein diverges.

 

Bract

Modified leaf at the base of a flower stalk or flower cluster.

 

Calyx

The group of outer floral leaves (sepals) below the petals, occasionally forming a tube.

 

Corolla

A collective name for all of the petals of a flower.

 

Linear

Long, straight, and narrow, with more or less parallel sides, like a blade of grass.

 

Papilla

A tiny, rounded, nipple-like projection on the surface of a leaf or petal.

 

Pedicel

In plants: the stalk of a single flower in a cluster of flowers. In Hymenoptera and Araneae: the narrow stalk connecting the thorax to the abdomen.

 

Raceme

An unbranched, elongated inflorescence with stalked flowers. The flowers mature from the bottom up.

 

Sepal

An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.

 

Wing

A thin, flat, membranous, usually transparent appendage on the margin of a structure.

       
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