Lobelia (Lobelia erinus ), Blue variety.

The lobelia (Lobelia ) is a genus in the family of the bellflower family ( Campanulaceae ). Was named the genus after the Flemish botanist and physician Matthias de L' Obel ( Lobelius ) ( 1538-1616 ).

Some species are cultivated ornamental plants for parks and gardens, as an annual summer flowers. Some species are " cropping trees " in high mountain regions in Africa, they belong to the subgenus Tupa.


The genus is distributed worldwide; the home ranges of most species are tropical or subtropical. One focus of the biodiversity of the genus are found in the Neotropics. Centers of diversity are the African continent and Mexico. 69 species are native to South Africa.


There are one to perennial herbaceous plants; at the " Schopf tree" species of woody stem. Most parts of the plants are hairless, except for example, the " crested tree" species. It is usually formed a significant main root. The plants carry a clear or milky white. The stems are erect to decumbent and usually only slightly branched. The mostly alternate, sessile leaves are simple. The leaf margins are often serrated, smooth or rarely lobed. Stipules absent.

The flowers appear singly or in racemose, aged men, doldigen or zymösen inflorescences, usually with foliage leaf-like bracts reduced to. The position of the flower comes about through Resupination (even with orchids ) of the hypanthium. The flowers are zygomorphic and fünfzählig. Usually the flowers are hermaphroditic; when the flowers are unisexual then are the types dioecious getrenntgeschlechtig ( dioecious ). The five sepals are fused Roehrig. The five petals are have grown Roehrig; almost to the base split on the top of the corolla tube ends two-lipped with outstretched Corolla lobe. The upper lip consists of two often narrow and erect to recurved Corolla lobe, which are usually much shorter than the lower lip. The lower lip is composed of three outstretched Corolla lobe. There is only one circuit available with five stamens, they are adherent to the base of the petals. The stamens are fused to at least half its length; but they can split apart in some species in Blühverlauf. The anthers are fused into a tube surrounding the style. The anthers often have at their head a tuft of short hairs. The top three anthers are slightly longer and can sometimes be hairless. Two carpels are fused into one inferior ovary. The style ends in a bilobed scar. The carpels form zweiklappig aufplatzende capsule fruits.

The flowers are protandrous. Most species have very bright colored flowers. Many of the native to the Andes Mountains species are pollinated by birds ( hummingbirds ), others of various insects ( bees and butterflies ).


Synonyms for Lobelia L. are Enchysia, Haynaldia, Isolobus, Laurentia, Mezleria, Neowimmeria, Parastranthus, Rapuntium and Tupa.

In the genus Lobelia (Lobelia ), there are 300-365 species. Here is a selection types:

  • Lobelia aberdarica
  • Lobelia anceps
  • Lobelia appendiculata
  • Lobelia assurgens
  • Lobelia berlandieri
  • Lobelia boykinii
  • Lobelia canbyi
  • Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis ) ( Syn: L. fulgens, S. splendens, L. graminea )
  • Lobelia chinensis
  • Lobelia columnaris, only West African Riesenlobelie
  • Lobelia comosa L.
  • Lobelia coronopifolia L.: Healing effect reported.
  • Water Lobelia (Lobelia dortmanna ), only native species in Central Europe
  • Lobelia (Lobelia erinus L.): Is a popular bedding and balcony plant, but also of their healing effects are reported.
  • Lobelia flaccidifolia
  • Lobelia flaccida: Healing effect reported.
  • Lobelia gaudichaudii
  • Lobelia gerardii
  • Lobelia gibberoa
  • Lobelia gibbosa Labill.
  • Indian tobacco (Lobelia inflata ): You have smoked for asthma and for tobacco cessation is due to the high alkaloid of this type of overdose but deadly poisonous.
  • Lobelia kalmii
  • Torch Lobelia or Mexican bush lobelia (Lobelia laxiflora )
  • Lobelia leschenaultiana
  • Lobelia monostachya
  • Lobelia nicotianifolia
  • Lobelia niihauensis
  • Lobelia oahuensis
  • Lobelia persicifolia
  • Lobelia pinifolia L.: It is used as a medicinal plant against skin diseases.
  • Lobelia puberula
  • Lobelia pyramidalis
  • Lobelia rhombifolia
  • Lobelia rosea
  • Lobelia sessilifolia
  • Blue Cardinal lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica ): Has been used earlier in the treatment of syphilis.
  • Lobelia spicata
  • Lobelia subpubera
  • Lobelia telekii Schweinf. ( Syn. Lobelia fenniae T.C.E.Fr. )
  • Lobelia tenuior
  • Devil's Tobacco (Lobelia tupa )
  • Country Lobelia (Lobelia urens )
  • Lobelia valida
  • Lobelia zeylanica.


Lobelia contain various alkaloids, especially lobeline. All lobelia are poisonous.


Mexican bush lobelia (Lobelia laxiflora ):

Lobelia gibberoa:

A crested tree from Mount Kenya: Lobelia telekii:

Water Lobelia (Lobelia dortmanna )

Country Lobelia (Lobelia urens )


  • Description in the New South Wales Flora Online. (English )
  • Brief description of the genus and a few selected species at plantzafrica / Kirstenbosch. (English )