Indian Pink (Spigelia marilandica)

Indian Pink is a fine plant for the garden. This beautiful wildflower is easily transplanted into areas of partial shade. It is a tender herb which grows up to two feet tall from perennial roots. There are four to seven pairs of opposite leaves which are sessile or nearly so.

Each stem of Indian Pink may bear two to twelve colorful tubular flowers on a one-sided spike-like cyme, and the flowers open from bottom to top. The corolla is bright red externally, opening at the tip into five star-like sharp-pointed lobes which are yellow inside. Both the stamens and the style protrude from the corolla.

The fruit has two distinct lobes and few seeds. Extracts of the roots, which contain an alkaloid, have been used in medicine to get rid of intestinal parasites. Misuse has caused poisoning.

This lovely flower is widespread in moist or rich woodlands in the Piedmont area. It is sometimes called Pink-root, Carolina-pink, or Worm-grass. It was named for Adrian Spigel (1578-1625), who was perhaps the first to give directions for preparing an herbarium.