31 Days. 31 Flowers. Teaching kids about Lobelia…
Literature, legends and art bloom with FLOWERS, from lovely little nursery rhymes to sophisticated epic poetry and great myths and masterpieces. Knowing the names of flowers, the references to flowers, the symbols of flowers, the language of flowers gives kids a blooming head start in understanding literature and enhancing literacy.
Each day in May, a FLOWER will be presented here at 31 Days. 31 Flowers – 31 Ways to engage your kids in literature, literacy and life in just a few moments a day. Enjoy!
The LOBELIA enirus… with its masses of lovely, delicate fan-shaped flowers, it is almost impossible to believe that the Lobelia species is known for its ill will and malevolence.
How can this be?
The common herb Lobelia inflata, with its similarities to nicotine, make any internal use very dangerous. Children, pregnant women and people with cardiac conditions are particularly susceptible to nausea and vomiting. Some rather unpleasant nicknames of Lobelia are Asthma Weed, Indian Tobacco, Pukeweed, Barfweed, Heaveleaf and Vomitwort.
That being said, Lobelia is also used for medicinal uses for muscle and respiratory disorders… and as a purgative.
The Lobelia is known for its beautiful flowers of chiefly blue, scarlet or purple. But it’s good to know that the lovely Lobelia, as it borders garden beds or gently cascades from garden pots and window boxes, is known as both friend and foe.
The Lobelia is named for French botanist and physician Mattias de Lobel ((1538-1616). In literature, the name Lobelia Sackville-Baggins was used in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings as the name of a covetous hobbit woman who defended her home against the corrupt wizard Saruman.
Tell your kids about the Lobelia. Tell of both its healing and its harm. Kids are always curious to know such things. Explain the words malevolence and purgative. Kids will, too, get a little kick out of the Lobelia’s nicknames, most especially Pukeweed, Barfweed, Heaveleaf and Vomitwort! Ha!
Plant some learning in your kids’ heads today!