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Habit (Denham, WA). Image reproduced with permission from Japan Tobacco Inc. from The genus Nicotiana illustrated (1994).

Image reproduced with permission from Japan Tobacco Inc. from The genus Nicotiana illustrated (1994).

Inflorescence. Photo: M. Fagg ANBG

Image reproduced with permission from Japan Tobacco Inc. from The genus Nicotiana illustrated (1994).

Image reproduced with permission from Japan Tobacco Inc. from The genus Nicotiana illustrated (1994).

Line drawing by P. Horton showing basal leaf and inflorescence.

Seed (NT Burbidge 6473 , AD). Photo Bob Baldock.

Subsp. hesperis is represented by dots in coastal and near-coastal areas and adjacent offshore islands of W.A. between latitudes 23S and 30S.

Synonymy

Nicotiana occidentalis subsp. hesperis (N.T.Burb.) P. Horton, J. Adelaide Bot. Gard. 3: 19 (1981) 

N. hesperis N.T.Burb., Austral. J. Bot. 8: 361; fig. 9; t. 15 (1960). 

T: Rocky Pool, Gascoyne River, 35 miles E of Carnarvon, W.A., 3 Sept. 1959, N.T. Burbidge 6494A; holo: CANB; iso: BRI, K n.v., photo AD.

Description

Herb to 1.3 m, densely pubescent with sticky, glandular hairs.

Radical leaves elliptic; lamina up to 20 cm long; petiole to 5 (occasionally 16) cm long, broadly winged, the base usually slightly stem-clasping; cauline leaves narrower, the upper ones pandurate or lanceolate and sessile, their bases usually auriculate and somewhat stem-clasping.  

Inflorescence panicle-like, few-branched; lower bracts usually leafy. Calyx 5–14 mm long, usually half to two-thirds the length of corolla-tube. Corolla-tube 11–18 mm long, 1–4 mm wide at top of calyx; limb 10–25 mm diam., the lobes notched. Upper 4 anthers at the same level, their filaments 1–5 mm long; filament of 5th stamen 3.5–6 mm long, inserted in lower half of corolla-tube or about half-way up. Cleistogamous flowers common, but more so in subsp. obliqua.

Capsule ovoid to ellipsoid, 7–14 mm long. Seeds usually U-shaped, occasionally crested along outer surface; testa with transverse wrinkles.  n=21.

Distribution and ecology

Mainly restricted to coastal and near-coastal areas and adjacent offshore islands of W.A. between latitudes 23°S and 30°S.

Usually grows along creeklines, or in shelter of boulders or trees in sandy or rocky soils.

Notes

Distinguishable from subsp. occidentalis by its shorter corolla-tube and from subsp. obliqua by its C- or U-shaped seeds, which are sometimes crested along the outer surface.

Indian botanists, S. M. Farooqui and Bir Bahadur (1983) argued that species rank for N. hesperis was justified because of its unique seed characteristics, but this argument seems not to have prevailed.

Reference: S. M. Farooqui & Bir Bahadur (1983). On the rank of Nicotiana hesperis Burbidge (Solanaceae). Taxon 32: 458-460

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.

Selected specimens

W.A.: Near Leonora, T.E.H. Aplin 2296 (AD, PERTH); near Woodleigh Stn Homestead, N.T. Burbidge 6455 (BRI, MEL, NSW); Wooramel River Bridge, Carnarvon road, N.T. Burbidge 6480 (CANB).

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Web links

Further information for this species in WA can be found on the FloraBase site.