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Genus Nicotiana Family Solanaceae

Description: Annual or short-lived perennial herbs or spindly shrubs, glabrous or hairy with glandular or non-glandular hairs.

Leaves alternate, radical and/or cauline, simple, margins entire to sinuate, petiolate or sessile.

Flowers solitary in leaf axils, or inflorescences panicle-like, rarely raceme-like with each flower subtended by a bract. Flowers bisexual, actinomorphic or slightly zygomorphic. Calyx tubular to narrow-campanulate, 5-lobed, persistent in fruit. Corolla tubular or trumpet-shaped; limb 5-lobed. Stamens 5, equal or unequal in length, often 4 reaching throat of corolla tube, the fifth shorter; anthers 2-locular, dorsifixed, dehiscing by longitudinal slits. Ovary 2-locular.

Fruit a capsule surrounded by persistent calyx, dehiscing by 4 or rarely 2 valves.


Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 60–70 species, mostly South America, also North America, SW Africa, southern Pacific & Australia. Australia: 17 species (16 species endemic, 1 species naturalized), all States.

Cleistogamous flowers which usually have very short corollas, often scarcely exceeding calyx, are found in some species. Many species are important drug plants. Commercial tobacco is mainly derived from N. tabacum L. and N. rustica L.

Text by B. J. Conn
Taxon concept:

 Key to the species 
1Perennial, spindly shrub 1–6 m high; corolla yellowNicotiana glauca
Annual or short-lived perennial herbs; corolla white or pink2
2Plant 1–3 m high; inflorescence short, dense, panicle-like; corolla white or pinkNicotiana tabacum
Plant usually less than 1 m high; inflorescence loose, elongated, panicle- or raceme-like; corolla white
                       Back to 1
3
3Ellipsoid-headed glandular hairs present at least on inflorescence4
Ellipsoid-headed glandular hairs absent
                       Back to 2
5
4Inflorescences many-branched when mature, leafless; corolla limb 6–13 mm diam., lobes obtuse to acute; seeds oblong to unequally 4 sided; leaves sparsely hairy, not glandularNicotiana forsteri
Inflorescences few-branched when mature, often leafy in lower part; corolla limb 10–25 mm diam., lobes notched; seeds reniform or acutely angled; leaves with sticky glandular hairs
                       Back to 3
Nicotiana occidentalis
5Stems and leaves pubescent all over6
Stems and leaves glabrous, glabrescent, or pubescent near base only
                       Back to 3
8
6Corolla tube more than 25 mm long or, if shorter, the length more than 14 times the width (measured at top of calyx)7
Corolla tube less than 25 mm long or, if longer, the length less than 14 times the width (measured at top of calyx)
                       Back to 5
Nicotiana velutina
7Corolla tube 20–40 mm long; upper 4 anthers not all at the same levelNicotiana simulans
Corolla tube 35–45 mm long; upper 4 anthers all at the same level
                       Back to 6
Nicotiana megalosiphon
8Branches and leaves glabrous or basal leaves, stem bases and young shoots hairy; seeds reniform or C-shaped9
Branches and leaves glabrescent; seeds C-shaped
                       Back to 5
Nicotiana velutina
9Corolla tube 17–55 mm long, distinctly broadening up to the limb; seeds reniform, rarely to 20 mm longNicotiana suaveolens
Corolla tube usually 8–18 mm long, rarely to 20 mm long, not distinctly broadening up to the limb; seeds C-shaped
                       Back to 8
Nicotiana goodspeedii

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