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Lobelia

Lobelia, also known as Indian Tobacco, is a genus in the family Lobeliaceae, comprising some 200 species, some of which are cultivated in gardens. These include Lobelia cardinalis (Cardinal Flower or Indian Pink), Lobelia siphilitica (Blue Lobelia), Lobelia fulgens and Lobelia erinus.

Some botanists place the genus in the family Campanulaceae, and the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group did not make a firm decision in this, listing the genus under both families.

Lobelia erinus is an annual flowering plant often grown in window boxes and hanging baskets. Many varieties have been cultivated with a wide variety of colours.

Lobelia species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Setaceous Hebrew Character.

The genus is named after Matthias de Lobel (15381616).

Native Americans used Lobelia to treat respiratory and muscle disorders, and as a purgative. One species, Lobelia siphilitica, was considered a cure for syphilis.

Herbalist Samuel Thompson made lobelia and cayenne widley popular as a medicinal aid across the country in the early 1800's.

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