The LOBELIA enirus… with its masses of lovely, delicate fan-shaped flowers, it is almost impossible to believe that the Lobelia species is known for its ill will and malevolence.
How can this be?
The common herb Lobelia inflata, with its similarities to nicotine, make any internal use very dangerous. Children, pregnant women and people with cardiac conditions are particularly susceptible to nausea and vomiting. Some rather unpleasant nicknames of Lobelia are Asthma Weed, Indian Tobacco, Pukeweed, and Vomitwort.
That being said, Lobelia is also used for medicinal uses for muscle and respiratory disorders… and as a purgative.
The Lobelia is known for its beautiful flowers of chiefly blue, scarlet or purple. But it’s good to know that the lovely Lobelia, as it borders garden beds or gently cascades from garden pots and window boxes, is known as both friend and foe.
The Lobelia is named for French botanist and physician Mattias de Lobel ((1538-1616).
Tell your kids of the Lobelia. Tell of both its healing and its harm. Kids are always curious to know such things. Talk of the words malevolence and purgative. Kids will, too, get a little kick out of the Lobelia’s nicknames! Plant some learning in your kids’ heads today!