Lobelia inflata 

Indian tobacco

Names and Myths

Lobelia Of Lobel (a Flemish botanist Matthias de Lobel 1538-1616)

 inflata inflated.

Tobacco scent cause of common name, the Indians did not smoke it.6

Natural history / Folklore

All parts of the plant contain a milky toxic juice, leaves, stems, and fruit often the cause of a dermatitis.21 Contains lobeline and other pyridine alkaloids; Lobeline is similar in structure to nicotine. Small doses cause burning in the throat and nausea, larger doses effect heart rate, induce vomiting and may lead to a coma or death.19 This acrid taste protects it from grazing animals.6

New England Quakers exported it dried to England for the treatment of asthma and convulsions, and it was listed in the American Codex between 1820 and 1960.56

Species List Family Group
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June – August pale blue to white. Seedpods are inflated. woods and fields