I don’t think a flower could be more deeply red than the Cardinal Flower-Lobelia cardinalis.
This is a native here in New England and much of the country and can quite often be found in garden centers for home gardens. We had a few for a while but they’ve left the premises. With such rich color it is easy to see why it has its popularity.
I had always thought that the style resembled that of a grass pink. It does in appearance but not in function. The grass pink’s style will drop onto a potential pollinator while that of the cardinal flower just brushes the top of the insect.
The white tip of the style is actually a lot of fine hairs that are the male organs. When brushed aside they release pollen onto the visiting bee or other insect. Once they deposit their pollen, the hairs drop off leaving the stigma open with it’s ovary exposed and receptive to pollen from other insects. If you click the image to enlarge it the hairs are just visible at the end of the style.
I found these at the edge of a local reservoir. In the past there had been a huge colony. But over time it disappeared for a reason unknown to me. There are now a few plants and I am hoping the colony is rebounding.