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Habit and habitat (Atherton Tableland, J.R. Clarkson 5549 ). Photo: J.R. Clarkson  J.R. Clarkson

Habit ( J.R. Clarkson 5549 ). Photo: J.R. Clarkson  J.R. Clarkson

Inflorescence (J.R. Clarkson 5549 ). Photo: J.R. Clarkson  J.R. Clarkson

Seed (JR Clarkson 5549, AD). Photo Bob Baldock.

Distribution map generated from Australia's Virtual Herbarium, May 2006.

Synonymy

Nicotiana wuttkei J. Clarkson & Symon, Austrobaileya 3: 389–392 (1991) 

T: 3 km from the Atherton to Ravenshoe road on the road to Tumoulin, Cook District, Qld, J. R. Clarkson 5549; holo: BRI; iso: AD, CANB, DNA, K, L, MBA, MO, QRS, PERTH.

Description

Annual herb to 0.8 (-1) m tall with one or a few stems from ground level. Indumentum on bracts, pedicels and calyx sparse to dense, a mixture of long, multicellular, globular-headed trichomes and short, unicellular, globular-tipped hydathodes; young growth sparsely to densely pubescent with long, eglandular, multicellular trichomes, glabrescent except for lower portions of stems and petioles of lower leaves.

Leaves both radical and cauline, occasionally mostly radical, petiolate; lamina of lower leaves ovate or elliptic becoming lanceolate or linear-lanceolate in the upper cauline positions, the basal ones 10–18 cm long, 4–7.5 cm wide occasionally reaching 28–34 cm x 14–16 cm in well grown individuals, those of the mid stem region 8–10 x 3.5–5 cm; apex acute to acuminate; base cuneate to attenuate; petiole 2–5 (-7) cm long, narrowly winged by the decurrent leaf lamina.  

Inflorescence an elongate, sparsely branched panicle occupying 1/2 to 2/3 of the length of the stems; bracts linear to linear lanceolate, to 2–5 cm long; pedicels 12–15 (-20) mm long in fruit. Calyx 7–10 mm long; lobes linear-lanceolate, equal to subequal, fused for about ½ their length. Corolla tube 16–18 mm long, c. 3 mm wide at the top of the calyx; tube proper slightly narrower than the throat cylinder; throat cup distinct, symmetrical, c. 3.5 mm diameter; corolla limb c. 9 mm diameter, closing in bright sunlight; lobes emarginate, fused for 1/3–1/2 their length. Upper 4 stamens level in throat cup, included; filaments free from corolla tube for distal 1–1.5 mm; fifth stamen c. 25 mm below the upper four, free portion of filament c. 10 mm long.  

Capsule ovate, 8–9 mm long, shorter than the calyx. Seeds reniform, 0.8–0.9 mm long; testa with serpentine wrinkles. Originally reported as n = 14, but since since reported as 2n= 32 (see Notes below).

Distribution and ecology

Confined in distribution to the Atherton Tableland, north Queensland between Atherton and Ravenshoe.

The species occurs at forest margins on soils derived from basalt.

Notes

The chromosome count of n=14 reported for this species in the protologue was recognised as unusual and subsequent counts have confirmed a count of 2n= 32.

N. wuttkei is resistant to a serious disease of cultivated tobacco, blue mould (Peronospora hyoscami De Bary) and has been used to develop a new tobacco variety with blue mould resistance.

Reference: Laskowska D. & Berbec, A. (2003). Preliminary study of the newly discovered tobacco species Nicotiana wuttkei Clarkson et Symon. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 50: 835–839.

Selected specimens

Qld: (type collection) 3 km from the Atherton to Ravenshoe road on the road to Tumoulin, Cook District, Qld, J. R. Clarkson 5549; AD, BRI, CANB, DNA, K, L, MBA, MO, QRS, PERTH.

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Web links

This species is listed as endangered under the Queensland Nature Conservation Act, 1992 and also within the Wet Tropics Plant species - see www.wettropics.gov.au/st/rainforest_explorer/Resources/Documents/4to7/RareandThreatenedPlantSpeciesList.pdf