Monday, November 1, 2010

Wild tobacco

Tobacco flowers
While visiting my grandmother a couple weeks ago, I discovered she had some wild tobacco growing in her back garden. My gran has quite a few things growing in her garden, and I’m not sure if she was even aware it was back there.

My aunt gave me a few of the tobacco seeds to plant and told me they are easy to grow, just give it lots of water. Which I’ve been doing diligently so far, so we’ll see how it goes.

This is what wild tobacco looks like:

There are more than fifty types of tobacco. Wild tobacco (nicotiana rustica) is not the same as nicotiana tabacum – the commercial variety which you sniff, smoke and chew.

Wild tobacco (Nicotiana rustica) is indigenous to the West Indies and to North America east and immediately west of the Mississippi River and Lower Eastern Canada.

First Nation People have long possessed a strong medical knowledge of the tobacco plant and treated it with great reverence and as a sacred plant. For thousands of years, their respect for the plant prevented them from becoming addicted to it. It was also used to treat a variety of ailments including asthma and fever.

Steffen Arctander describes the aroma of fresh tobacco flowers as “extremely delicate, yet rich and sweet, spicy-floral, somewhat reminiscent of carnation with a fresher note, almost fruity.”

Dried tobacco leaves
Tobacco absolute – solvent extracted from the cured and fermented leaves - is a rare and prized ingredient in natural perfumery. Used as a base note, it is said to add a complex and sophisticated note to perfumes. It blends especially well with florals. On her website, Mandy Aftel of Aftelier Perfumes describes it as: musky, "dirty" and slightly sweet with floral undertones.”

Here is an update on this post.


Elettra said...

I never saw flowers of tobacco, thanks for showing them, Your post is very interesting and instructive, we will enjoy following your blog

Lisa BTB said...

What a pretty flower. I hope your flowers bloom abundantly.