Nicotiana debneyi Domin, Biblioth. Bot. 89: 593; t. 36, figs 6–8 (1929)
T: Rockingham Bay, Qld, ?1868, Dallachy s.n.; holo: K n.v., photo AD; iso: ?MEL.
N. suaveolens var. parviflora Benth., Fl. Austral. 4: 470 (1868), p.p., fide T.H. Goodspeed, Chron. Bot. 16: 483 (1954).
?N. forsteri Roem. & Schult., Syst. Veg. 4: 323 (1819).
T: New Caledonia, J. R. & G. Forster; syn: BM.
N. forsteri Roem. & Schult, may be the earliest name for this species. P.S. Green (Kew Bull. 48: 322 (1993))considered this to be so and used this name in place of N. debneyi Domin in the treatment of Nicotiana for Lord Howe Island in Fl. Austral. 49: 294 (1994). It has also been adopted in the Queensland Census. However the use of this name had been challenged by Knapp and she had doubts that the two were conspecific (pers.comm. to David Symon) and so the status quo was retained here. this position was also adopted for the Australian Plant Census.
More recently Marks (Muelleria 28: 74- 84(2010)) has reviewed the history of the nomenclature of these two species and has published arguments in support of the use of the name Nicotiana forsteri.
Herb to 1.5 m, leaves and lower stems sparsely pubescent with non-glandular hairs.
Radical leaves elliptic, the lamina up to 25 cm long and 14 cm wide; petiole to 14 cm long, broadly winged, somewhat stem-clasping and auriculate at base; cauline leaves smaller, the upper ones narrowly elliptic to linear and becoming sessile, the base auriculate and stem-clasping.
Inflorescence panicle-like, usually many-branched, densely pubescent with glandular hairs. Calyx 4–10 mm long. Corolla-tube 10–25 mm long, narrow at base, 1.5–3 mm wide at top of calyx; limb 6–13 mm diam.; lobes usually broader than long, obtuse, fused above half way. Staminal filaments (4-)6–11 mm long, inserted in lower half of corolla-tube; upper 4 anthers at the same level or nearly so.
Capsule dehiscing by 4 valves, ellipsoid to ovoid, 5–11 mm long. Seeds ovoid to trapezoid; testa wrinkled or with wavy-edged honeycomb markings. n=24.
Distribution and ecology
Occurs mainly in coastal and subcoastal regions of eastern Australia, from Cairns, Qld, to Nowra, N.S.W., with minor, possibly relict, occurrences in central-western Qld. Also occurs naturally in New Caledonia and on Lord Howe Island.
Grows in a range of soils on coastal headlands, in deep gorges, cave openings and disturbed rainforest or softwood scrub, often among regrowth after fire.
According to Pandey (1969) this species has flowers which are self-compatible.
Reference: Pandey, K. K. (1969) Elements of the S-gene complex V. Interspecific cross-compatibility relationships and theory of the evolution of the S complex. Genetica 40, 447-474.
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.
Qld: Biloela, L.S. Smith 3461 (BRI); Lamington National Park, 27 May 1961, J.H. Willis (MEL). N.S.W.: 32 km NW of Kyogle, R. Henderson 488 (NSW); 45 km WSW of Moura, R.W. Johnson 2814 (CANB).
Further information and images of this species in NSW can be seen on the PlantNET site (as N. forsteri).