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Vick, Albert F. W.
Lobelia inflata L.
Indian Tobacco, Indian-tobacco
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 CharacteristicsDuration: Annual Habit: Herb Flower:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Blue , Purple
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct
, WV Canada: NB
, PE Native Distribution:
Across southern Canada; south to Georgia; west to Arkansas and eastern Kansas. Native Habitat:
Fields, open woods, and roadsides.
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:
National Wetland Indicator Status
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.
Record Last Modified: 2007-01-01
Research By: TWC Staff