Native. Annual. Propagates by seeds. Time of bloom: July to November. Seed-time: August until the ground is snow-covered. Range: Labrador to the Northwest Territory, southward to Georgia, Arkansas, and Nebraska. Habitat: Dry soil; meadows, pastures, and grain fields.
A very poisonous plant, and medicinally valuable; collectors receive twenty cents a pound for the seeds and three to eight cents a pound for dried leaves and tops. Grazing animals seem to know the quality of its acrid, milky juices, and usually leave the weed untouched; but sometimes its young shoots are eaten and cause a sickness known as "slobbers." The writer knows, from the foolhardy experiments of childhood, that the chewing of a single green "bladder-pod" will constrict the muscles of the throat and bring on most unpleasant throes of nausea. (Fig. 287.)
Stem six inches to two feet high, rather stout, with many short and slender branches held nearly erect, the whole plant finely rough-hairy. Leaves alternate, thin, light green, long oval, with blunt, irregular teeth, the lower ones narrowed to short petioles, the upper ones much smaller and sessile. Flowers in spike-like bracted racemes, similar in structure to the preceding species, but much smaller, the corollas less than a half-inch long and pale blue; capsule much inflated, containing many small dark brown seeds.
Fig. 287.-Indian Tobacco (Lobelia inflata). X 1/4.
Hand-pulling in pastures and meadows. Surface cultivation of stubbles after harvest. Improvement of the soil by liming, manuring, and cultivation, which will enable better plants to smother the weed.