Habit. Photo: M.Fagg M.Fagg

Flowers and foliage. Photograph supplied by ABRS, photographer unknown.

Branch with flowers. 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).

Seed (F.Badman 9368, AD). Photo Bob Baldock.

Walls of N. glauca seed (F Badman 9368, AD).

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


*Nicotiana glauca Graham, Bot. Mag. 55: t. 2837 (1828), and Edinb. New Philos. J. 5: 175 (1828) (n.v.)

T: Cultivated 1828 at Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, from seed sent from Buenos Aires, Argentina; holo: E.


Erect, often spindly, tree-like shrub to 6 m; stems and leaves glabrous, new growth and inflorescence very sparsely pubescent with non-glandular hairs.  

Leaves glaucous, ovate or elliptic; lamina up to 13 (occasionally to 35) cm long; petiole to 6 (occasionally to 12) cm long, terete or narrowly winged near lamina.  

Inflorescence terminal, panicle-like, short, dense. Calyx 7–17 mm long. Corolla–tube 20–40 mm long, 3–6 mm wide at top of calyx, narrowed at base; limb 8–13 mm diam., the lobes obtuse. Stamens almost equal in height, the filaments 19–29 mm long, all inserted in lower half of corolla-tube.  

Capsule ellipsoid or ovoid-ellipsoid, rarely sub-orbicular, 7–13 mm long; pedicel curved or reflexed at time of fruiting. Seeds broadly ovoid to reniform; testa honeycombed or wrinkled. n=12.

Distribution and ecology

Native to Argentina but naturalised in many warm-temperate regions of the world. In Australia, widespread in southern S.A., south-eastern Qld, N.S.W. and Vic., and around settled areas in southern W.A. and southern N.T.

Grows in open and disturbed areas.

Information about the spread of this plant after flooding events in NSW can be seen in Florentine & Westbrooke (2005), although the title of this paper is somewhat misleading as the plant has never been listed as noxious in Australia.


Reference: Florentine, S.K. & Westbrooke, M.E. (2005). Invasion of the noxious weed Nicotiana glauca R. Graham after an episodic flooding event in the arid zone of Australia. J. Arid Environments 60: 531-545.


Known to form hybrids with the native species N. suaveolens Lehm., N. simulans N. Burb. and N. goodspeedii H. Wheeler.  N. flindersiensis was described in 1936 from the You Yangs in Victoria by W.H.Nicholls in The Victorian Naturalist 53: 64, t. vii. It is thought to represent a hybrid between Nicotiana glauca Graham and N. suaveolens Lehm.

Occasionally used by Aborigines as a narcotic.

Two men have died from drinking concoctions of N. glauca providing them with a psychotropic trip to that country, from whose bourn no traveller returns, D.S. Sims, R. James & T. Christensen, J. Forensic Sciences 44: 447–450 (1999).

Commonly known as Tree tobacco.

According to Pandey (1969) this species has flowers which can be either self-compatible or self-incompatible.

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.

Selected specimens

W.A.: 34 km S of Geraldton, T.E.H. Aplin 1490 (PERTH). S.A.: Andamooka, D.E. Symon 11448 (AD). Qld.: 39 km S of Eulo, J. Ebersohn 259 (BRI). N.S.W.: near Milparinka, J. Pickard 3138 (NSW). Vic.: Lake Bael Bael, H.I. Aston 545 (MEL).


Web links

Further information for this species in WA can be found on the FloraBase site and for NSW on the PlantNET site. A fact sheet for this species can be downloaded from the SA eFlora site.

N. glauca as a weed in the Pacific is treated on the Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER) site.

There are some high resolution images of this species at and on the Plants of Hawaii site.

Further information about this species can be accessed through the Plants Profile site of the US Department of Agriculture.