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Inflated Lobelia, Indian Tobacco - Lobelia inflata


Family: Campanulaceae - Bellflower family Genus Common Name: Lobelia Native Status: NativePerennial Herb
Lobelia inflata - Inflated Lobelia, Indian Tobacco. Small plant with tiny 1/4-inch flowers white to bluish flowers. While the common name Indian Tobacco implies that it was used for smoking, there are reports that the plant should be considered toxic. However, according to Guido Mase of The Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism,it is an "important remedy: allays spasm, anti-asthmatic, useful to quit tobacco." I assume that this information from Guido implies a specific knowledge of how to properly use the herb.

Journal Articles Referencing Lobelia

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Lobelia inflata

Distribution of Lobelia inflata in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2017. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 27 Jul 2017). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

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Site: Walker County, Ga Date: 2009-July-19Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D60
1/60f/5.6 ISO200
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
90mm (135 equiv)
Lobelia inflata has alternating, somewhat ovate, slightly serrate leaves on short petioles, reducing in size as they go up the plant. The taller of these two plants is 13" high.
Lobelia inflata

Site: Walker County, Ga Date: 2009-July-19Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D60
1/30f/11 ISO200
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
90mm (135 equiv)
Indian Tobacco has the typical lobelia flower structure. The two green dots sent me in the direction of L. nuttallii, but the leaves in L. nuttallii are much narrower than in L. inflata.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Lobelia inflata

Site: Walker County, GA Date: 2009-July-19Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D60
1/30f/11 ISO200
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
90mm (135 equiv)
Click on the photo for a larger image
Lobelia inflata

Site: Walker County, GA Date: 2009-August-13Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D60
1/80f/7.1 ISO400
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
90mm (135 equiv) Flash: Y
The swelling seed pod provides the common name Inflated Lobelia as well as the inflata species epithet.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Lobelia inflata

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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2017
Photographs Copyright owned by the named photographer