The Reddest Red of All

Look what’s blooming beside Lake Finney, just downhill from Malon Courts dormitory! It’s cardinal flower, Lobelia cardinalis. Of the several species of lobelia in our flora, this is the only red one — others have blue or white flowers. A favorite of hummingbirds because of its copious nectar, it advertises the fact with this most bodacious color. “Come and get it!” cardinal flower calls to the hummingbirds, who cannot resist a long-throated red flower. The flower bops the unwary hummer on the head with pollen, which the birth obligingly delivers to the next cardinal flower that it visits. Nice trade-off!

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