(40% of world tobacco production)

Flue-cured is also known as "Bright" and "Virginia" by the world trade. It is used almost entirely in cigarette blends. Some of the heavier leaves may be used in mixtures for pipe smoking. Some English cigarettes are 100% flue-cured.

Flue-cured leaf is characterized by a high sugar: nitrogen ratio. This ratio is enhanced by the picking of the leaf in an advanced stage of ripeness, and by the unique curing process which allows certain chemical changes to occur in the leaf.

Cured leaves vary from lemon to orange to mahogany in color. The leaves are relatively large with the largest at midstalk. A well grown plant will be topped at a height of 39 to 51 inches with 18-22 harvestable leaves. Yields average around 2200 lbs/A with some in excess of 3000 lbs/A. The leaves are harvested as they mature from the ground up.

Flue-cured tobacco is grown in approximately 75 countries from New Zealand to Germany. Major producers in the world are: China, USA, Brazil, India and Zimbabwe. The major exporters are the U.S., Brazil, India and Zimbabwe.

Flue-cured is grown in six states in the U.S. - Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. A very small amount is in Alabama.


(11% of world production)

Burley is light air-cured type derived from the White Burley which arose as a mutant on a farm in Ohio in 1864. Burley is used primarily in cigarette blends. Some of the heavier leaf is sued in pipe blends and also for chewing.

Cured burley leaf is characterized by low sugar content and a very low sugar to nitrogen ratio (high nicotine). This is enhanced by high N. fertilizer, harvesting at an early stage of senescence, and the air curing process which allows oxidation of any sugars which may have occurred. Burley has a tremendous capacity to absorb flavorings (25% of its own weight vs. 7-8% for flue-cured).

Cured leaves vary in color from light tan to reddish and brown. The leaf should be without yellow patches or fringes.

Crops in the field are light green in color. This is particularly true for the midrib and stalk which are creamy- white. The leaves are slightly larger than flue-cured and the plants are generally taller. A typical plant is topped at 20-30 leaves. Average yields are 2500-3000 lbs/A and the plants are stalk cut. The leaves are stripped after curing.

Burley is produced in around 55 countries but only a small amounts in over 1/2 of these. The main producers and trades are the U.S., Italy, Korea, Brazil, and Mexico. In the U.S. production is in Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia and Missouri.


Maryland is another light air-cured type. It is used to some extent in American blended cigarettes and to a greater extent in certain Swiss cigarette blends.

Maryland tobacco is extremely fluffy, has good burning properties, low nicotine, and neutral aroma. An example of this lightness: a hoghead of redried burley or flue-cured may weigh 800 lobs but the same hoghead will only contain 600 lbs of Maryland.

Maryland tobacco is upright and large leaved like burley but is darker green without the creamy midveins. Yields are slightly less than flue-cured. The tobacco is stalk cut and air-cured like burley. The cured leaf is various shades of brown with yellow and green colors being highly undesirable.

Total world production is small and is confined to the U.S. and Italy; and is generally declining.

In the U.S., production is in five Maryland counties around Washington, D.C.

Dark air-cured

(20% of world production)

The dark air-cured term encompasses a number of types used mainly for chewing, snuff, cigar, and pipe blends. Most of the world production is confined to the tropics.

In the U.S. dark air-cured tobacco is produced in Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia: three types are one-sucker, Green River and Virginia sun-cured.

These are heavy type leaves, highly fertilized and topped low to around 10-12 leaves. Dark air-cured leaf is high in nicotine and used in chewing and snuff and some pipe mixtures. The plants are stalk cut.

Cigar wrapper, binder and filler are also considered dark air types.

Cigar wrapper

Connecticut valley today, used to be grown in Florida. (Shade tobacco) hand primed very labor intensive to prevent holes in leaves. Only the finest cigars are hand rolled with wrapper leaf. High production costs and development of homogenized leaf has lend to downfall of production. $4-6.00/lb in 1975

Cigar binder - Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin

Cigar filler - Pennsylvania, Ohio and Puerto Rico

Tobacco which doesn't meet wrapper standards becomes cigar binder (75 cents/lb in 1975) and cigar filler (57 cents/lb in 1975). Cigar filler is heavy bodied and is used to make the case of a cigar. Binder was used as an inner wrapping to form the shape. Like the wrapper, binder has generally been replaced by cheaper homogenized leaf.


(16% of total production)

Oriental tobacco gives a mild smoke with very characteristic aroma. Resins, waxes and gum exuded by glandular hairs (trichomes) furnish the aroma. Nicotine is low averaging around 1.0%.

Oriental leaf is characterized by its small size, leaf length is 3-10 inches and is 2-3 times the width. Average plant heights are 3-5 ft. The leaves are hand primed, normally sewn on a string, and are dull yellow to rich brown in color. The leaves are sun-cured.

Production is centered in the USSR, Turkey, Bulgaria, Greece, Yugoslavia, Romania and Italy.

Largest importers are the U.S., Japan and Germany.


(1% of World)

The main use for dark-fired tobacco is in the production of snuff, chewing tobacco, and pipe blends. Dark-fired leaves are subjected to smoke from smoldering wood during the early stage of curing. The type of wood used is very important in determining taste and grown. Cured leaves are very dark in color and are long and heavy bodied. The plants are topped very low 12-14 leaves, and are stalk cut.

The only significant world producers are the U.S., Poland, Malawi, Italy and Tanzania. In the U.S., production is in Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee.


Perique is produced in St. James Parrish in South Louisiana. Curing consists of a period of moisture loss in the open, followed by successive periods of high pressure treatment in barrels. The final product is very black with a characteristic odor almost like perfume. It is used in a few specialized pipe mixtures. Perique is produced in St. James Parrish in South Louisiana. Curing consists of a period of moisture loss in the open, followed by successive periods of high pressure treatment in barrels. The final product is very black with a characteristic odor almost like perfume. It is used in a few specialized pipe mixtures.


When settlers first reached Jamestown they found the Indians smoking Nicotiana rustica which contains about 10% nicotine. In the next 300 years rustica has lost a lot of ground to N. tabacum. At present rustica is grown and used in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, USSR, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Burma, Iran, Iraq, Algeria, parts of Africa and South America. Rustica is smoked primarily in water pipes but is occasionally smoked as cigarettes or chewed.

N. rustica is grown in small fields on heavy and manured soils often under irrigation. The tobacco is stalk cut. Curing usually accomplished by the sun in the field.


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