Out in Michigan this weekend we were lucky enough to see the cardinal flower, which grows in the same wet areas where, in the spring, you would find skunk cabbage or marsh marigolds.
A brilliant red flower in these parts is a rarity, and the cardinal flower, though not so rare to be endangered, is not abundant enough to be spotted easily. Its late flowering, in forested areas where one hardly expects to find blooms, adds to the pleasure of seeing it.
A member of the lobelia family, the cardinal flower grows throughout the Americas. I have read that, because of the blossoms’ deep throats, the ruby-throated hummingbird is its only pollinator. If true, the hummingbirds are in luck, for we saw a surprising number of cardinal flowers this weekend.
Perhaps it would be better not to share this closeup. I was so excited to be seeing this flower that I wasn’t concentrating on the camera sufficiently. Behold the blinding abstraction that for now will have to stand as a proxy for something better. The blossoms are delicate, complexly formed things. Now that’s red.