Habit (rockface, near Bathurst, NSW). 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).

Image reproduced with permission from Japan Tobacco Inc. from The genus Nicotiana illustrated (1994).

Flowers and capsule (J.R. Hosking 1108, Bowling Alley Point, NSW). Photo: J.R. Hosking © J.R. Hosking

Seed (KL Wilson 5864, AD). Photo © Bob Baldock.

Distribution map generated from Australia's Virtual Herbarium, May 2006. Dots outside Victoria and NSW are erroneous or represent cultivated material.


Nicotiana suaveolens Lehm., Gen. Nicot. Hist. 43 (1818)

N. undulata Vent., Jard. Malm. 1: 10; t. 10 (1803), nom. illeg., non Ruíz Lopez & PavÓn (1799); N. suaveolens var. undulata Comes, Monogr. Nicot. 40 (1899), fide H.E. Wheeler, op. cit., 59, based on N. undulata Vent.

 T: N. undulata ex Hortus Malmaison, Herbier de Ventenat, from seed from Port Jackson, N.S.W.; holo: G n.v., photo ADW.

N. suaveolens var. parviflora Benth., Fl. Austral. 4: 470 (1868), p.p., fide T.H. Goodspeed, Chron. Bot. 16: 473 (1954).

T: Port Jackson, N.S.W., coll. unknown; n.v.

N. exigua H. Wheeler, op. cit., 64, fide P. Horton, J. Adelaide Bot. Gard. 3: 34 (1981).

T: Cultivated plant 31424 P6, grown at University of California Botanic Gardens 1932 from seed accession 1931–59, collected Dalby, Qld, J.H. McCarthy s.n.; holo: UC n.v.; iso: AD.


Herb to 1.5 m; stems and leaves glabrous or variably pubescent with non-glandular hairs, occasionally white-woolly.  

Leaves usually radical and cauline, ovate or elliptic, the upper ones lanceolate to linear; lamina up to 16 (occasionally to 30) cm long; petiole to 7 (occasionally to 16) cm long, usually narrowly winged, the base sometimes slightly stem-clasping.  

Inflorescence panicle-like, usually few-branched, pubescent with glandular hairs. Calyx 6–13 (rarely to 26) mm long; intersepalar membranes usually conspicuous. Corolla-tube 17–55 mm long, 2–6 mm wide at top of calyx, distinctly narrowed at base; limb 14–35 mm diam., the lobes obtuse or notched. Upper 4 anthers at about same level, their filaments to 3 mm long; filament of 5th stamen 11–16 mm long, inserted in lower half of corolla-tube.  

Capsule ovoid or ovoid-ellipsoid, 7–12 mm long. Seeds usually reniform or acutely angled; testa irregularly honeycombed or wrinkled. n=16.

Distribution and ecology

Widespread in coastal and inland areas of south-eastern N.S.W. and Vic.  

Grows in sandy or stony soil on creek banks and rocky slopes; often in the understorey of woodland or shrubland.


A variable species with diploid and tetraploid races; possibly hybridises with N. velutina H.Wheeler where distributions overlap.

According to Pandey (1969) N. suaveolens (and the synonym, N. exigua) 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.

Selected specimens

N.S.W.: NW of Yenda, N.T. Burbidge 6421 (AD, BRI, CANB, MEL, NSW). Vic.: Brisbane Ranges, 22 Oct. 1955, J.H. Willis (MEL).


Web links

Further information and images of this species in NSW can be seen on the PlantNET site.