Lobelia puberula

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Lobelia puberula
Lobelia puberela KMR 2013 PH (2).jpg
Photo taken by Kevin Robertson
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Order: Campanulales
Family: Campanulaceae
Genus: Lobelia
Species: L. puberula
Binomial name
Lobelia puberula
LOBE PUBE dist.jpg
Natural range of Lobelia puberula from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Common name: Downy lobelia[1]

Taxonomic notes

Synonyms: none.[1]

Varieties: none.[1]


"Perennial or annual herbs with erect stems that are strict or freely branched. Leaves crenate, serrate, or entire. Raceme terminal, bracteate, often very leafy and the flowers appearing axillary. Calyx 5-lobed, more or less actinomorphic; corolla zygomorphic, fenestrate, 2-lipped, upper lip 2-lobbed, lower 3-lobbed. Stamens 5, completely united. Capsule dehiscent by apical pores. Seeds yellowish brown, tuberculate, oblong, 0.6-1 mm long."[2]

"Similar to L. elongata. Stems pubescent, at least near the base. Leaves elliptic, lanceolate or oblanceolate, 3-12 cm long, 1-4 cm wide. Calyx lobes lanceolate, rarely linear, 5-10 mm long, sometimes slightly auriculate, entire or with callous-tipped teeth; corolla tube 7-10 mm long; filament tube 5-8 mm long. Capsule 6-8 mm broad."[2]


L. puberula ranges from New Jersey, southeast Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, southeastern Missouri, Arizona, and Oklahoma, south to peninsular Florida and southern Texas.[1]



It is found in burned and unburned patches of degraded longleaf pine sandhill in the southeastern United States.[3] This species is also found in pine flatlands, boggy clearings, upland pine-oak woodlands, ravines, along limestone glades, and along riverbanks.[4] It can occur in dry, sandy soils, loamy soils, clays, and moist soils of wetlands in open to partially shaded areas.[4] L. puberula is also found growing in human-disturbed areas such as ditches and along roadsides.[4] Associated species include Pinus palutris, Quercus virginiana, Pinus echinata, Quercus falcata, Helianthus, Eupatorium, Agalinis, Liatris, Coreopsis gladiata, Juncus trigonocarpus, Scleria reticularis, Sphagnum, Pinus taeda, Aristida stricta, and Schoenus nigricans.[4]

Lobelia puberula is an indicator species for the Clayhill Longleaf Woodlands community type as described in Carr et al. (2010).[5]


L. puberula flowers from July through October.[1]

Seed bank and germination

Several short-lived perennial forbs also have a seed bank persistent for at least several years.[6]

Fire ecology

This species thrives in burned habitats.[4]

Herbivory and toxicology

Lobelia puberula has been observed to host bees from the Apidae family such as Bombus fervidus and Xylocopa virginica.[7]

Conservation, cultivation, and restoration

Cultural use

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Weakley, A.S. 2015. Flora of the southern and mid-atlantic states. Working Draft of 21 May 2015. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Radford, Albert E., Harry E. Ahles, and C. Ritchie Bell. Manual of the Vascular Flora of the Carolinas. 1964, 1968. The University of North Carolina Press. 1005-7. Print.
  3. Heuberger, K. A. and F. E. Putz (2003). "Fire in the suburbs: ecological impacts of prescribed fire in small remnants of longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) sandhill." Restoration Ecology 11: 72-81.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Florida State University Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium database. URL: http://herbarium.bio.fsu.edu. Last accessed: June 2014. Collectors: G. Knight, Loran C. Anderson, Robert K. Godfrey, Jean W. Wooten, James R. Burkhalter, R. Kral, S. W. Leonard, A. F. Clewell, D. B. Ward, E. S. Ford, Roy Komarek, S.C. Hood, . K. Craddock Burks, Gil Nelson, Angus Gholson, Wilson Baker, Ed Keppner, Lisa Keppner, Ann F. Johnson, R. A. Norris, Travis MacClendon, Karen MacClendon. States and Counties: Florida: Baxter, Calhoun, Clay, Escambia, Franklin, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Santa Rosa, Taylor, Wakulla, and Walton. Georgia: Grady and Thomas.
  5. Carr, S.C., K.M. Robertson, and R.K. Peet. 2010. A vegetation classification of fire-dependent pinelands of Florida. Castanea 75:153-189.
  6. Platt, W. J., S. M. Carr, et al. (2006). "Pine savanna overstorey influences on ground-cover biodiversity." Applied Vegetation Science 9: 37-50.
  7. Discoverlife.org [1]