Habit, seeds, corolla of large showy flower, bud and corolla of cleistogamous flower, capsule. From Nuytsia 9: 421-425, f. 1 (1994).

Corolla of large showy flower. From Nuytsia 9: 421-425, f. 1 (1994).

Corolla of cleistogamous flower and bud. From Nuytsia 9: 421-425, f. 1 (1994). Scale bar = 4 mm.

Seed (DE Symon 16053, AD). Photo Bob Baldock.

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


Nicotiana heterantha Symon & Kenneally, Nuytsia 9: 421–425 (1994) 

T: Buckleys Bore, 11 km N of Broome, Dampier Peninsula, W.A., 8 March 1992, J. B. Martin 225; holo: PERTH 2169819; iso: AD, CANB, K.


Annual or short-lived perennial herb, branching near the base. Decumbent stems develop tufts of leaves at the lower nodes.

Leaves at first basal, 2–10 x 1–4.5 cm, commonly c. 7 x 2.5 cm, petiolate, elliptic to obovate, apex obtuse, base attenuate, margin entire, petiole 2–2.5 cm, narrowly winged, attachment to stem simple. Leaves at first basal and cauline, these in time replaced by tufts of leaves at the stem nodes and in the lower parts of the inflorescence. Indumentum of simple and minute globular-headed glandular hairs, more common on young parts and calyces but never conspicuous, leaves and wiry stems glabrescent.

Inflorescence a simple or sparsely branched raceme, the axis relatively slender and wiry, to 1 m long, decumbent. Stem leaves soon reduced to linear-triangular bracts 3–5 mm long, tufts of leaves develop at the lower nodes (see above), from these axillary tufts of leaves short flowering axes 1–5 cm long with 2–5 flowers may develop; pedicel c. 7 mm long. Chasmogamous flowers (Kenneally 11338): calyx 7–9 mm long, the lobes joined by membrane 2–3 mm, the lobes free for 2 mm, lobe apex triangular, all minutely glandular pubescent within the lower half, limb 0.7–1 cm long, divided about halfway, lobe apex emarginate. Four upper anthers on filaments 1.5–2 mm long, the lower fifth anther on filament 6–7 mm long. Anthers 1 mm long; style 2.8 cm long; stigma capitate, exserted just beyond the four anthers. Ovary 2 mm, conical, sparsely minutely glandular pubescent, base surrounded by circular fleshy disc. Cleistogamous flowers: calyx as above but corolla tube and lobes c. 5 mm long, not expanding.  

Capsule c. 8–10 mm long, apex acute, equal to or exceeding the calyx, dividing to four valves when mature, the calyx tube and capsule often slightly constricted at about one-quarter of their length, the lower quarter somewhat thicker and hardened. Seeds to 1 mm long, bluntly triangular to angularly reniform, reticulate with sharp-edged wavy ridges, the cells deeply concave, brown. n = 24.

Distribution and ecology

Restricted to Melaleuca thickets. Originally though to only be in the Broome region but now proving to be considerably more widespread. See AVH map or FloraBase map for present day distribution.  


It forms low spreading mounds on seasonally wet black clay.

Selected specimens

W.A.: Coconut Well, 15 km N of Broome, Foulkes 237 (AD, CANB, K, PERTH).

Web links

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