An acrid, poisonous herb, 1 to 3 feet high; stem hairy and leafy, panicu-lately branched, from an annual root. Leaves ovate or oblong, bluntly toothed, alternate, the upper sessile and pointed, the lower petioled and blunt, 1 to 21/2 inches long, rather thin and pubescent. Flowers small, pale blue or violet, arranged rather loosely in spikelike, leafy racemes, each flower subtended by a leaflike bract, the lower bracts longer than the flowers. Calyx tube greatly inflated in fruit forming a rounded, ribbed capsule containing many seeds. In structure the corolla is similar to the other species of Lobelia, but much less conspicuous.

Memoir 15 N. Y. State Museum

Plate 222

A. Indian Or Wild Tobacco; Eyebright   Lobelia inflata

A. Indian Or Wild Tobacco; Eyebright - Lobelia inflata

In dry fields and thickets, often in poor soil, Labrador to Saskatchewan, south to Georgia, Arkansas and Kansas. Flowering from July to October. The different names given in different localities to this plant (Gagroot, Emetic Weed, Asthma Weed, etc.) give some idea of the herbal character of the species. It was formerly much used as an emetic and the Indians are supposed to have smoked and chewed the bitter leaves, hence the name " Indian tobacco."