This week’s Wildflower Wednesday featured flower is the Cardinal Flower.
The Cardinal flower is native to WI and is often found on streambanks and in wet areas.
It can grow 2-3 feet with spikes of flowers that open from bottom to top. Its leaves emerge from the stem one at a time in an alternate pattern.
Its name is derived from the dark scarlet color of its flowers that is reminiscent of the robes worn by Roman Catholic Cardinals.
Its primary pollinators are hummingbirds and bees. Its long, tubular flowers make it difficult for insects and other birds to access its nectar.
There is a legend that says if an elderly woman wants to find love, she needs only to touch the root of a cardinal flower.
The Pawnee used cardinal flower roots and flowers as a love charm.
The Meskwaki used it as a ceremonial tobacco and would throw the dried leaves into the wind to protect against storms.