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The northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) is a bird in the genus Cardinalis; it is also known colloquially as the redbird, common cardinal, red cardinal, or just cardinal (which was its name prior to 1985). It can be found in southeastern Canada, through the eastern United States from Maine to Minnesota to Texas, and south through Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala. It is also an introduced species in a few locations such as Bermuda and Hawaii. Its habitat includes woodlands, gardens, shrublands, and wetlands.

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McGraw, Kevin J.; Hill, Geoffrey E.; Stradi, Riccardo; Parker, Robert S. (2001). "The Influence of Carotenoid Acquisition and Utilization on the Maintenance of Species-Typical Plumage Pigmentation in Male American Goldfinches (Carduelis tristis) and Northern Cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis)". Physiological and Biochemical Zoology. University of Chicago Press. 74 (6): 843–852. doi:10.1086/323797. PMID 11731975. S2CID 10265039. Cardinal flower, Lobelia cardinalis, is a native American plant that is often used as an ornamental garden plant. This showy species in the bellflower family (Campanulaceae) has a wide distribution, throughout the eastern US (including Wisconsin and Minnesota) and from southeastern Canada through Mexico and Central America to northern Colombia in South America.

It is found in moist soils, including wet open woods, streambanks, swamps and marshy areas. It was introduced to Europe in the mid 1620’s where it earned its common name, likely because the bright red flowers – variously described as scarlet, crimson, or vermilion – are the same color as the vestments worn by Roman Catholic cardinals. It is hardy in zones 3-9. Lobelia cardinalis is easily grown in moist soils in full sun to partial shade. It has few pests and is not favored by deer or rabbits. Flower stalks may need to be staked depending on the exposure to strong winds. It is considered a short-lived perennial, because it will die after blooming, although offsets will continue growing to perpetuate the plant. It can be propagated by division, removing the young plants that develop around the perimeter of established clumps, or can be grown from seed. Plants often reseed on their own, or seed can be sown on the soil surface (they need light to germinate). (Source: hort.extension.wisc.edu)



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