The fortunes that have been won and lost from this somewhat plain plant. The flowers are interesting but in real life are fairly well-hidden by the large leaves that form along the stem. The midwest may have their waving grains of wheat but here in the south it is lush, green fields of tobacco that cover so much of the Carolinas.
We’ve lived in several parts of North Carolina and when we lived near the coast, there were several small tobacco farmers not that far from our house. While commercial growers tend to pick the entire plant at once, the smaller farms would do things the more traditional way. Generally, tobacco leaves mature from the bottom of the plant to the top. The farmers would harvest individual leaves when they were ready. So, as the planting season would progress, the tobacco plants would look more and more like topiaries until all that was left was a naked stem and the flowers at the top.
This tobacco plant drawing show the plant in bloom and dates all the way back to 1779, when it was included in a short work on the culture of the plant and growing it in more northern climates, particularly in Great Britain. The actual illustrator is not identified, only the engraving company of Copland and Sansom is credited for the work.
This image is copyright free and in the public domain anywhere that extends copyrights 70 years after death or at least 120 years after publication when the original illustrator is unknown.