Lobelia inflata – Indian tobacco

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Indian Tobacco (Lobelia inflata) is a native plant that blooms from mid-summer until the first frost.
Indian tobacco has alternate, finely toothed leaves. The small flowers have an upper two-lobed lip and a lower three-lobed lip. Fertilized flowers develop into inflated seed capsules.
Indian tobacco was occasionally chewed or smoked by Native Americans as a medicinal plant. It is now known to be toxic. The plant can be deadly if consumed in large quantities. Indian tobacco contains lobeline which has been used as a smoking cessation aid by pharmaceutical companies.

Written by Amy Demers, founder of the Connecticut Foraging Club. To learn more about foraging in Connecticut, check out our upcoming classes.

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