Lobelia is a large, cosmopolitan genus of flowering plants with around 400 annuals, perennial and shrubby species from warm temperate regions around the world. All have simple, alternate leaves and 2-lipped, tubular flowers with five lobes (2 erect and the lower 3 fanned out). Though they vary enormously, Lobelia species make popular ornamental garden plants for their abundant flowering and intense colour. Lobelias make excellent edging plants in flower beds or can be grown in containers and hanging baskets. Lobelia erinus is the most widely cultivated species in the genus. It has been cultivated since the seventeenth century and commonly used in flowerbeds. Most species can easily be grown from seed. The rare Lobelia valida also makes an excellent bedding plant and is often planted in beds at Kirstenbosch garden. Lobelia pteropoda from the Transkei area makes an attractive hanging basket specimen.