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Nicotiana (/ˌnɪkʃiˈnə, nɪˌk-, -kɒti-, -ˈɑːnə, -ˈænə/[3][4][5]) is a genus of herbaceous plants and shrubs of the family Solanaceae, that is indigenous to the Americas, Australia, south west Africa and the South Pacific. Various Nicotiana species, commonly referred to as tobacco plants, are cultivated as ornamental garden plants. N. tabacum is grown worldwide for production of tobacco leaf for cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Tabak 9290019.JPG
Nicotiana tabacum
Scientific classification

Type species
Nicotiana tabacum L.

See text


Amphipleis Raf.
Blenocoes Raf.
Dittostigma Phil.
Eucapnia Raf.
Langsdorfia Raf.
Lehmannia Spreng.
Perieteris Raf.
Polydiclis (G.Don) Miers
Sairanthus G.Don
Siphaulax Raf.
Tabacum Gilib.
Tabacus Moench
Waddingtonia Phil.[2]

Cross section of Nicotiana tabacum corolla, showing pistil and stamens



The 67 species include;[6][7]

Manmade hybridsEdit

Formerly placed hereEdit


The word nicotiana (as well as nicotine) was named in honor of Jean Nicot, French ambassador to Portugal, who in 1559 sent it as a medicine to the court of Catherine de' Medici.[12]


Female Manduca sexta (tobacco hornworm)

Despite containing enough nicotine and/or other compounds such as germacrene and anabasine and other piperidine alkaloids (varying between species) to deter most herbivores,[13] a number of such animals have evolved the ability to feed on Nicotiana species without being harmed. Nonetheless, tobacco is unpalatable to many species and therefore some tobacco plants (chiefly tree tobacco, N. glauca) have become established as invasive species in some places.

In the 19th century, young tobacco plantings came under increasing attack from flea beetles (Epitrix cucumeris and/or Epitrix pubescens), causing destruction of half the United States tobacco crop in 1876. In the years afterward, many experiments were attempted and discussed to control the flea beetle. By 1880, it was discovered that covering young plants with a frame covered with thin fabric (instead of with branches, as had previously been used for frost control) would effectively protect plants from the beetle. This practice spread until it became ubiquitous in the 1890s.

Lepidoptera whose caterpillars feed on Nicotiana include:

These are mainly Noctuidae and some Sphingidae.


Nicotiana × sanderae ornamental cultivar

Several species of Nicotiana, such as N. sylvestris,[15] N. alata 'Lime Green'[16][17] and N. langsdorffii are grown as ornamental plants, often under the name of flowering tobacco.[6][18] They are popular vespertines (evening bloomers), their sweet-smelling flowers opening in the evening to be visited by hawkmoths and other pollinators. In temperate climates they behave as annuals (hardiness 9a-11).[19] The hybrid cultivars Domino Series [20] and 'Lime Green'[17] have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[21]

Garden varieties are derived from N. alata (e.g. 'Niki' and 'Saratoga' series) and more recently from Nicotiana x sanderae (e.g. 'Perfume' and 'Domino' series).[18]

The tobacco budworm (Heliothis virescens) has proven to be a massive pest of many species in the genus, and has resisted many attempts at management.[22]


  1. ^ "Nicotiana". Uniprot. Retrieved 2014-02-08.
  2. ^ "Nicotiana L." Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2006-04-13. Archived from the original on 2010-08-20. Retrieved 2010-06-03.
  3. ^ "Nicotiana". Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2016-01-21.
  4. ^ "Nicotiana". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 2016-01-21.
  5. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
  6. ^ a b Fine Gardening: Nicotiana
  7. ^ The Plant List
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Knapp et al. (2004) Nomenclatural changes and a new sectional classification in Nicotiana (Solanaceae) Taxon. 53(1):73-82.
  9. ^ a b Bot, Ann (2003). "Molecular Systematics, GISH and the Origin of Hybrid Taxa in Nicotiana (Solanaceae)". Annals of Botany. 92 (1): 107–127. doi:10.1093/aob/mcg087. PMC 4243627. PMID 12824072.
  10. ^ Clausen, R.E. (1928) Interspecific hybridization in Nicotiana. VII. The cytology of hybrids of the synthetic species, digluta, with its parents, glutinosa and tabacum. Univ. Cal. Pub. Botany. 11(10):177-211.
  11. ^ "GRIN Species Records of Nicotiana". United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2010-11-30. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  12. ^ Austin, Gregory. "Chronology of Psychoactive Substance Use". Teachers College Columbia University. Archived from the original on 2011-08-09. Retrieved 2014-02-08.
  13. ^ Panter, KE; Keeler, RF; Bunch, TD; Callan, RJ (1990). "Congenital skeletal malformations and cleft palate induced in goats by ingestion of Lupinus, Conium and Nicotiana species". Toxicon. 28 (12): 1377–1385. doi:10.1016/0041-0101(90)90154-Y. PMID 2089736.
  14. ^ United States. Agricultural Research Service (1984), Suppression and Management of Cabbage Looper Populations, U.S. States Dept. of Agriculture, retrieved 25 September 2017
  15. ^ RHS: Nicotiniana sylvestris
  16. ^ Fine Gardening: Nicotiana alata
  17. ^ a b "Nicotiana 'Lime Green'". RHS Gardening. Retrieved July 23, 2014.
  18. ^ a b The National Garden Bureau
  19. ^ Dave's Garden
  20. ^ "Nicotiana Domino Series". RHS Gardening. Retrieved July 23, 2014.
  21. ^ "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 69. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  22. ^ "Tobacco budworm - Heliothis virescens (Fabricius)". Retrieved 2017-11-09.


  • Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) (1999): Nicotiana. Retrieved 2007-11-20.
  • Panter, K.E.; Keeler, R.F.; Bunch, T.D. & Callan, R.J. (1990): Congenital skeletal malformations and cleft palate induced in goats by ingestion of Lupinus, Conium and Nicotiana species. Toxicon 28 (12): 1377-1385. PMID 2089736 (HTML abstract)
  • Ren, Nan & Timko, Michael P. (2001): AFLP analysis of genetic polymorphism and evolutionary relationships among cultivated and wild Nicotiana species. Genome 44(4): 559-571. doi:10.1139/gen-44-4-559 PDF fulltext

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