Close up of Cardinal Flowers (Lobelia cardinalis) growing on Contoocook Island.

American Indians used this and other Lobelias to treat worms, stomach problems and syphilis. The root was part of a Native American love potion and the powder of the entire plant may have been used as sort of a magic power to dispel storms and was used in ceremonies. One legend claims that touching the root of this plant will bring love to the lives of elderly women. The plant, however, contains poisonous alkaloids and ingestion has caused illness and even deaths in humans.
(Photography by Joseph R. Modugno) close window