[INFOGRAPHIC] The Anatomy of a Tobacco Plant

While enjoying a premium, hand rolled cigar, how often do you actually think about the process of creating cigars or the tobacco plant itself? Probably not often. Also, how many cigar smokers have actually had an opportunity to visit a tobacco farm to see the rows upon rows of tobacco plants? A small percentage of the cigar smoking population, to be sure.

Tobacco Field

Tobacco plants will grow on average six to seven pairs of leaves. These leaves are picked (primed) in pairs. These primings, listed in order, from the top of the plant to the bottom are named Coronas, Centro Gordo, Centro Fino, Centro Ligero, Uno y Medio and Libre de Pie. These primings are further categorized into four types of leaves. They are Ligero, Seco, Capote and Volado.

Volado Tobacco Leaf Seco Tobacco Leaf Ligero Tobacco Leaf Ligero leaves are at the top of the tobacco plant and are considered the strongest and most flavorful due to their direct exposure to sunlight. Ligero plays a very important part in a cigar blend’s flavor. Due to the thick nature of this leaf, it is normally placed in the center of a cigar so that the surrounding filler can help it burn properly.

Capote leaves are used for the binder leaf of a cigar. The binder is used to keep filler leaves together and gives a cigar its shape after being pressed in a mold. Capote leaves are found just above Volado leaves on a tobacco plant.

Seco and Volado leaves generally comprise the filler tobacco for cigars. The flavors and strength of the leaves become more subtle the lower you go in the primings. Seco leaves are found in the middle of a tobacco plant while the Volado leaves are at the bottom.

Cigar Anatomy
Tobacco Leaves

Wrapper leaf for cigars come from tobacco plants grown specifically for wrapper tobacco and are primed in pairs as well.

Leaf images by LeafOnly.com, informational diagrams by Puff.com.

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