An old English writer in describing tobacco says:--"When at its just height, it is as tall as an ordinary sized man."
Tobacco is a hardy flowering annual plant, growing freely in a moist fertile soil and requiring the most thorough culture in order to secure the
finest form and quality of leaf. It is a native of the tropics and under the intense rays of a vertical sun develops its finest and most
remarkable flavor which far surpasses the varieties grown in a temperate region. It however readily adapts itself to soil and climate growing
through a wide range of temperature from the Equator to Moscow in Russia in latitude 56°, and through all the intervening range of climate.
The plant varies in height according to species and locality; the largest varieties reaching an altitude of ten or twelve feet, in others not
growing more than two or three feet from the ground.
Botanists have enumerated between forty and fifty varieties of the tobacco plant who class them all among the narcotic poisons.
When properly cultivated the plant ripens in a few weeks growing with a rapidity hardly equaled by any product either temperate or tropical. Of
the large number of varieties cultivated scarcely more than one-half are grown to any great extent while many of them are hardly known outside of
the limit of cultivation.
Tobacco is a strong growing plant resisting heat and drought to a far greater extent than most plants.
It is a native of America, the discovery of the continent and the plant occurring almost simultaneously. It succeeds best in a deep rich loam in a
climate ranging from forty to fifty degrees of latitude.
After having been introduced and cultivated in nearly all parts of the world, America enjoys the reputation of growing the finest varieties known
to commerce. European tobacco is lacking in flavor and is less powerful than the tobacco of America.
The botanical account of tobacco is as follows:--"Nicotiana, the tobacco plant is a genus of plants of the order of Monogynia, belonging to the
pentandria class, order 1, of class V. It bears a tubular 5-cleft calyx; a funnel-formed corolla, with a plaited 5-cleft border; the stamina
inclined; the stigma capitate; the capsule 2-celled, and 2 to 4 valved."
A more general description of the plant is given by an American writer:--"The tobacco plant is an annual growing from eighteen inches (dwarf
tobacco) to seven or eight feet in height.
It bears numerous leaves of a pale green color sessile, ovate lanceolate and pointed in form, which come out alternately from two to three inches
apart. The flowers grow in loose panicles at the extremity of the stalks, and the calyx is bell-shaped, and divided at its summit into five
The tube of the corolla expands at the top into an oblong cup terminating in a 5-lobed plaited rose-colored border. The pistil consists of an oval
germ, a slender style longer than the stamen, and a cleft stigma. The flowers are succeeded by capsules of 2 cells opening at the summit and
containing numerous kidney-shaped seeds."
Two of the finest varieties of Nicotiana Tobacum that are cultivated are the Oronoco and the Sweet Scented;
they differ only in the form of the leaves, those of the latter variety being shorter and broader than the other.
They are annual herbaceous plants, rising with strong erect stems to the height of from six to nine feet, withfine handsome foliage. The stalk
near the root is often an inch or more in diameter, and surrounded by a hairy clammy substance, of a greenish yellow color. The leaves are of a
light green; they grow alternately, at intervals of two or three inches on the stalk; they are oblong and spear-shaped; those lowest on the stalk
are about twenty inches in length, and they decrease as they ascend.
The young leaves when about six inches, are of a deep green color and rather smooth, and as they approach maturity they become yellowish and
rougher on the surface. The flowers grow in clusters from the extremities of the stalk; they are yellow externally and of a delicate red within.
They are succeeded by kidney shaped capsules of a brown color.