Lobelia. Lobelia inflata L.

Figure 74.—Lobelia (Lobelia inflata)

Other Common Names

Indian-tobacco, wild tobacco, asthma weed, gagroot, vomitwort, pukeweed, emetic herb, bladder pod, low belia.

Habitat And Range

Lobelia may be found in sunny places in open woodlands, old fields and pastures, and along roadsides in the eastern United States and Canada, and west to Kansas, Arkansas, and Saskatchewan.


Lobelia is a poisonous plant with a milky juice. Its stem, which has but few branches, is smooth above while the lower part is rough and hairy. The lower leaves, which are about 2 inches in length, are borne on stalks, while the upper, smaller ones are stemless. The pale-blue flowers, which appear from summer until frost, are numerous, but very small and inconspicuous. The flower has an upper and lower lip, the latter being divided into three lobes and the upper one into two. The inflated seed capsules are nearly round and contain very numerous extremely minute, dark-brown seeds.

Part Used

The leaves and tops, not including too much of the stemmy portion. The material should be collected after some of the capsules have become inflated and carefully dried in the shade.