Rabbit Tobacco Revisited

One of the most frequent searches of this blog is for Rabbit Tobacco (Gnaphalium obtusifolium). I propped a dried bunch against the toolshed wall and made a photo. Cut before it dries in the field, it retains a stronger fragrance. Chamomile is the only thing I can think of that it resembles. I set a little bunch of the leaves on fire and sniffed. Smelled like any other leaves burning to me. The herbal books I’ve read did not advocate using this plant for anything, just mentioned uses handed down for generations that were possibly not a good idea. I think the best use is probably as an ornamental plant with roots in folk history, as a conversation piece.

Frequently I pinch leaves of rosemary, sage, thyme, cardamon ginger and oregano for visitors to the garden to sniff. This is another that has a distinctive fragrance to the leaves, very pungent. Common cudweed has no fragrance. When I’m weeding, I often pinch leaves to distinguish whether a plant stays.

1 Comment

  1. gld

     /  October 18, 2009

    Nell, the more I read about your Rabbit Tobacco, the more I wonder if it is the plant we knew as kids as 'life ever-lasting'. Dare I mention, my Mom taught us kids to smoke it once. I have it growing on the some of the fields. When it is dried, I think it has a very sweet smell. I failed to dry any this year….wish I had.

    I will look for a picture but I am sure it is in a vase dried.


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