Nicotiana benthamiana Domin, Biblioth. Bot. 89: 591; t. 37, fig. 1 (1929)
N. suaveolens var. cordifolia Benth., Fl. Austral. 4: 470 (1868).
T: NW coast of Australia, Bynoe s.n.; K n.v., photo AD.
Leafy herb to 1.5 m, moderately densely pubescent with glandular hairs.
Leaves mostly cauline, broadly ovate, the upper ones shorter and narrowly ovate; lamina up to 15 cm (occasionally to 23 cm) long; basal leaves petiolate, the petiole to 6 cm long, broadly to narrowly winged, upper leaves sessile or almost so.
Flowers solitary in axils or arising from internodes. Calyx 5–17 mm long; lobes usually spreading or recurved. Corolla-tube 20–60 mm long, to 2.5 mm wide at top of calyx; limb 7–21 mm diam.; lobes usually obtuse or slightly notched. Two of the upper 4 anthers usually slightly above the other 2, the filaments to 2.5 mm long; 5th filament 5–10 mm long, inserted in upper half of corolla-tube.
Capsule ovoid to ellipsoid, 6–13 mm long. Seeds reniform; testa usually with wavy-edged honeycomb or wrinkles. n=19.
Distribution and ecology
Patchy but widespread distribution in W.A. and N.T. north of latitude 26°S, extending into central-western Qld.
Typically grows on low rocky hills and outcrops in shelter of rocks or in caves.
Used as a chewing tobacco throughout the range of its distribution, but not as sought as other species. See P. Latz, (1996). Bushfires and Bushtucker, Aboriginal Plant Use in Central Australia. IAD Press, Alice Springs, for further information.
A valuable summary of the cultural use of Nicotiana species in Australia is provided in D.E.Symon (2005). Native tobaccos (Solanaceae: Nicotiana spp.) in Australia and their use by Aboriginal peoples. The Beagle 21: 1-10.
W.A.: Rawlinson Range, A.S. George 8818 (PERTH). N.T.: Tobermorey Stn, 10 Oct. 1955, G. Chippendale (BRI, CANB, NSW, NT); Seigal Creek area, N.M. Henry 792 (BRI, CANB, NT); Nicholson River, T.S. Henshall 383 (DNA, NT, PERTH). Qld: Duchess, S.T. Blake 11527 (BRI).
Further information and images for N. benthamiana in WA can be found on the FloraBase site.
There are some high resolution images of this species at http://www.plantsystematics.org/