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Lobelia inflata (Indian tobacco) | NPIN
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Lobelia inflata (Indian tobacco)
Vick, Albert F. W.

Lobelia inflata

Lobelia inflata L.

Indian Tobacco, Indian-tobacco

Campanulaceae (Bellflower Family)

Synonym(s):

USDA Symbol: LOIN

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

Slightly hairy stems may be simple or branches and have several tiny lavender or blue-violet flowers in terminal, leafy, elongated clusters.

This acrid poisonous annual is found in a variety of sites, often in poor soil. The American Indians were said to have smoked and chewed its leaves; hence the common name. Though once used as an emetic, the root should not be eaten, for if taken in quantity it can be fatal.

 

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Annual
Habit: Herb
Flower:
Fruit:

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Blue , Purple
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct

Distribution

USA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , NE , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , TN , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: NB , NS , PE
Native Distribution: Across southern Canada; south to Georgia; west to Arkansas and eastern Kansas.
Native Habitat: Fields, open woods, and roadsides.

Benefit

Use Food: American First Nations were said to have smoked and chewed its leaves; hence the common name. (Niering)
Warning: POISONOUS PARTS: All parts. Toxic only if eaten in large quantities. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, salivation, exhaustion and weakness, dilation of pupils, convulsions, and coma. Toxic Principle: Alkaloids lobelamine, lobeline, and others, plus a volatile oil. (Poisonous Plants of N.C.). The leaves, seeds, and roots of some plants of the Lobelia genus contain poisonous substances and have caused fatalities in humans and animals when ingested. All plants in the genus may contain toxins and should not be ingested.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

Region:AGCPAKAWCBEMPGPHIMWNCNEWMVE
Status: FAC FACU FAC FACU FACU
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

Additional resources

USDA: Find Lobelia inflata in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Lobelia inflata in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Lobelia inflata

Metadata

Record Modified: 2007-01-01
Research By: TWC Staff

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