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Project Name Data (Last Modified On 5/15/2013)
 

Flora Data (Last Modified On 5/15/2013)
Genus Nicotiana L.
PlaceOfPublication Sp. P1. 180-1. 1753
Note TYPE: N. tabacum L.
Description Erect herbs or shrubs to 3 m tall, often glandular or viscid pubescent, unarmed. Leaves entire, sessile or petiolate, sometimes large; minor leaves often present as auricles or cauline stipule-like processes. Inflorescence a terminal, many flowered panicle, bracteate, and the pedicels bracteolate, articulating at the base. Flowers regular or somewhat zygomorphic, 5-merous; calyx campanu- late, somewhat accrescent but not enclosing the fruit; mostly 5-lobed, the lobes short or elongate, persistent; corolla tubular, salverform or elongate, campanu- late, variously colored, prefloration contorted-plicate, rarely imbricate; stamens 5, equal or not, filaments equally or unequally inserted at various levels in the corolla tube, often pubescent, sometimes geniculate, anthers included or nearly so, dehiscent longitudinally, 2-thecate, the connective apparent or not; ovary 2-loculed on an annular hypogenous, sometimes nectiferous disc, the placentae axillary, somewhat proliferated, ovules numerous, anatropous, stigma included or exserted. Fruit a chartaceous or coriaceous capsule, dehiscent apically by septicidal and locucidal slits; seeds many, minute, globose or often prismatic, the embryo small, straight, curved, bent or arched. Chromosomes mostly n-12 or 24.
Habit herbs or shrubs
Distribution A genus of about 60 species, centered in higher elevations of South America but with groups of species in Mexico, Australia and the South Pacific as well as lowland South America.
Note The genus is not native to Central America with the exception of one species in Guatemala and southern Mexico. The species treated here is widely cultivated and naturalized in many parts of the world. Nicotiana is one of the world's most important drug plants with a long tradi- tion in the regions where it is native as well as in parts of North America where it was dispersed by pre-Columbian man. It was introduced to Europe and Africa and other parts of the New World very soon after Spanish and Portuguese con- tact and today is a major crop plant in a number of countries. There is today a much larger acreage devoted to cultivation of tobacco than to any other drug plant. Taxation, moral arguments, and health considerations tend to diminish total production and usage, but the strong attraction of the odor of smouldering tobacco and the addictive consequences of its use foretell the continued use of this plant as a social drug. Several species of Nicotiana are employed as tobacco, the one grown in Panama being the most widespread in world use and commerce. Nicotiana is closely related to Petunia among the Salpiglossidae. Goodspeed believed it to be intermediate between or at least closely related to Cestrum and Petunia. The structure of the inflorescence with its bracts, bracteoles and its generally clasping leaf bases are good distinguishing characters. The name is taken from the name of Jean Nocot de Vellemain, French Minister to Lisbon, 1560, and was long the traditional French name for the plant.
Reference Goodspeed, T. H. The genus Nicotiana. Chron. Bot. 16. 1954.
 
 
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