Plants of
South Australia
Nicotiana excelsior
Solanaceae
Giant Tobacco
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
Least concern
Near threatened
Rare
Vulnerable
Endangered
Critically endangered
Extinct
Data deficient
Adelaide
Arkaroola
Ceduna
Coober Pedy
Hawker
Innamincka
Marla
Marree
Mount Gambier
Oodnadatta
Renmark
Wudinna
Keith
Yunta
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Etymology

Nicotiana, named after Jean Nicot (1530-1600), a French Ambassador for the King of France to Lisbon in 1560, who sent the first tobacco plant to France. Excelsior, from the Latin 'excelsa', meaning tall, referring to its habit.

Distribution and status

Found in the north-west part of South Australia, near the Northern Territory border, growing in rocky gullies and creeklines. Also found in Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Native. Uncommon in South Australia. Uncommon in the other States.
Herbarium regions: North Western, Lake Eyre
NRM regions: Alinytjara Wilurara, South Australian Arid Lands
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Leafy annual or perennial herb to 1 m high or more, with mostly glabrous leaves and stems. Basal leaves elliptic or ovate to 25 cm long. with short broadly-winged. stem-clasping petioles. Stem leaves often narrow-elliptic or lanceolate. Inflorescence, erect, few-branched panicle-spikes; sparsely hairy, with tubular white flowers. Flowering between April and September. Fruits are brown ellipsoid to ovoid capsule to 20 mm long. Seeds are brown reniform seed to 0.1 mm long and 0.7 mm wide, covered in small depressions. Seed embryo type is linear, fully-developed.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between September and November. Collect mature capsules that are brown or turning a pale straw-colour and contain brown seeds. Can collect individual capsules or break off the whole fruit spike. Place the capsules in a tray and leave to dry for one to two weeks, then rub the capsules gently by hand to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieve to separate the unwanted material. Store the seeds with a desiccant such as dried silica beads or dry rice, in an air tight container in a cool and dry place. From one collection, the seed viability was high, at 100%.

Seeds stored:
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LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
Number
of plants
Date
collected
Collection number
Collection location
Date
stored
% ViabilityStorage
temperature
BGA 
MSB
30,500 (4.97 g)
30,500 (4.97 g)
30+4-Sep-2013MJT438
North Western
24-Mar-2015100%-18°C
BGA43,000 (6.12 g)22-Jul-2017DEM8851
North Western
30-Jun-2018100%-18°C, -80°C
Location: BGA — the seeds are stored at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, MSB — the seeds are stored at the Millennium Seed Bank, Kew, England.
Number of plants: This is the number of plants from which the seeds were collected.
Collection location: The Herbarium of South Australia's region name.
% Viability: Percentage of filled healthy seeds determined by a cut test or x-ray.
Germination table:
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