Thomas Jefferson recorded planting the Cardinal Flower in one of the oval flower beds near the house at Monticello in 1807. This native perennial was introduced to Britain in 1626. It was recommended for garden use by Jefferson's nurseryman friend, Bernard McMahon, in The American Gardener's Calendar, 1806, and the earliest American reference comes from John Bartram in 1783. At one time this flower was used by Native American Indians as a root tea for treating stomach aches, typhoid and other diseases.The Cardinal Flower is a hardy, North American summer-flowering perennial which has brilliant scarlet flower spikes above deep, blue green basal rosette of foliage.
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