Sunday, 15 April 2018

Cardinal Flower

"Lobelia cardinalis - Cardinal Flower", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2018

Lobelia cardinalis, commonly known as Cardinal Flower, is a species of flowering plant in the bellflower family, Campanulaceae. It is native to the Americas from southeastern Canada south through the eastern and southwestern United States, down thru Mexico and Central America to northern Colombia. 

It is a perennial, herbaceous plant that grows up to 4 ft. tall and is found in wet places, along stream banks and in swamps. The dark, green leaves are long and alternate. The flowers are usually vibrant red, deeply five-lobed. Like other Lobelia, this plant displays the characteristic "lip" petal near the opening of the flower and the "milky" liquid the plant excretes. It was introduced to Europe in the mid-1620s, where the name cardinal flower was in use by 1629, likely due to the similarity of the flower's colour to the vesture that Cardinals wear in the Roman Catholic Church. 

The Zuni people used this plant as an ingredient of "schumaakwe cakes" and used it externally for rheumatism and swelling. The Penobscot people smoked the dried leaves as a substitute for tobacco. It may also have been chewed. 

As a member of the genus Lobelia, it is considered to be potentially toxic. Symptoms of ingestion of large quantities include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, salivation, exhaustion and weakness, dilation of pupils, convulsions, and coma. The plant contains a number of toxic alkaloids including lobelamine and lobeline. 

The genus name, Lobelia, honours Matthias de l'Obel (1538-1616), French physician and botanist, who, with Pierre Pena, wrote Stirpium Adversaria Nova (1570) which detailed a new plant classification system based upon leaves. The specific name, cardinalis, means scarlet or cardinal red.

Much of the above text was taken from Wikipedia and other Internet sources.


These two young men, who are so very special to me, have been having a rather busy time over these past weeks -- and here are the photos to prove it.

Decorating Easter eggs...

(and here's the finished product -- with mom's help, of course)

...working on their piano duet...

...improving their karate skills...

...enjoying the Maple Sugar Festival...

...and celebrating St. Patrick's Day!



Suki Enjoying a Tiny Bit of Spring Sunshine

Good news -- Suki seems to be feeling much better than she was when I posted back on April 1st.  I am still uncertain as to why she went off her food for a few days, but, thankfully, she is now eating normally again.

Along with the return of her appetite, there is also a renewal of her normal energy levels.  Once again she is enjoying hiding behind things and then jumping out at me as I pass by as well as playing with her favourite toys.

Perhaps she was just feeling a bit depressed for a few days.  If feeling low for a time can happen to us human animals, I don't see why it can't happen to other animal species as well.  Interestingly, I heard about a woman with a depressed Doberman for whom the vet prescribed Prozac!  Personally, I think that is taking things just a bit too far, but what do I know.

I also have good news -- when I visited the ophthalmologist last week (after suffering with those dastardly drops for the previous two weeks), she discovered that my eye pressure is now back in the almost normal range.  This means that I am once again using only my original drops for the glaucoma and am no longer having to suffer with the additional (and very painful) drops.  She wants to see me again in three months in order to make certain that the pressure is staying down.  

Otherwise, there is nothing new to report.  I did have one other medical appointment this past week, but it was just a follow-up appointment with my family doctor.  

My next appointments are all occurring in the middle of May by which time, I am hoping, I will be able to stop wearing my heavy winter coat.  Yes, we are continuing to have unseasonably cool temperatures up here which makes me a bit envious of all my family and friends in the southern U.S.  Ah, well, I am still grateful to be living in Canada -- cold weather and all.

Speaking of weather, I do hope that all of those affected this weekend by the ice storm (in my area) and the freezing rain in areas in the U.S. will be free from harm.  Hopefully, none of us will be losing electrical power as today's ice and freezing rain weigh down those electrical wires.  Stay safe!

While I'm not aware of any special holidays occurring in the next two weeks, let me just say that if you are celebrating something special, I wish you the very best.


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