Lobelia urens

Lobelia urens Heath Lobelia.jpg

One of our few native Lobelias, a blaze of purple found in acidic bogs.

  • Rarity: 6 sites across the south of England from Cornwall to Sussex.

  • Cause of decline: Loss of heathlands and deterioration in the biodiversity of bog habitats.

Heath Lobelia is a rare member of the Lobelioideae, a family of plants which are much more commonly encountered in the tropics. As such, it is a spectacular sight in British heathlands and has been the subject of intense conservation work for several decades.


It occupies a niche in damp heathlands and acid grassland that are subject to sporadic heavy disturbance - an environment that would have been common when extensive herds of grazing animals moved freely within the landscape, but is now an almost vanished habitat type.

It is an erect perennial with stems c.60cm high. Leaves grow to 7cm and are oblong and irregularly toothed. Flowers are erect or spreading, bracts are narrower than leaves, the corolla measures 10-15mm, and it has 2 lipped purplish blue flowers.

Heath Lobelia is perennial rhizomatous herb, overwintering in rosettes of leaves producing flower spikes in spring. Flowers are entomophilous (insect-pollinated) but can self-propagate. Each pod produces large quantities of seed. Plants appear to keep flowering into early winter until frosts set in.

Heath Lobelia 2019 Species Report

This extensive report lays out the current status of all known sites for Heath Lobelia in the UK

The project was generously funded by the Sussex Lund Trust, Flimwell Park and the Darlington Charitable Trust