Lobelia kalmii is a species of flowering plant with a distribution primarily across Canada and the northern United States in temperate and boreal regions. It was formerly known as Lobelia strictiflora (Rydb.) Lunell and has a variety of English names including Kalm's lobelia, Ontario lobelia and Brook lobelia.
Lobelia kalmii is a small plant (10 - 40 cm) of wet environments such as bogs, wet meadows, and rocky shorelines, including wet alvars, where it it grows in calcareous soil or cracks between limestone rocks.
It has blue flowers, with a white center. It has thin upper leaves and spatulate basal leaves . It starts flowering in July, lasting into September.
The genus is named after the Belgian botanist Matthias de Lobel (1538–1616).
Cultivation and uses
Although other species of Lobelia
are cultivated for ornamental purposes, the small (1 cm) flowers of Lobelia kalmii
have not endeared this plant to growers. It can be found though on seed exchanges among native plant enthusiasts . It's hardy nature may allow it to produce masses of scattered plants within downspout rock gardens.
used lobelia to treat respiratory and muscle disorders, and as a purgative
. Today it is used to treat asthma
and food poisoning
, and is often used as part of smoking cessation programs. It is a physical relaxant, and can serve as a nerve depressant, easing tension and panic. The species used most commonly in modern herbalism is Lobelia inflata