Plants of
South Australia
Nicotiana maritima
Solanaceae
Coast Tobacco
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Vulnerable
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Adelaide
Arkaroola
Ceduna
Coober Pedy
Hawker
Innamincka
Marla
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Oodnadatta
Renmark
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Keith
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock painting: 1.

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. Maritima, from the Latin adjective 'mare', meaning the sea, alluding to its sometimes coastal distribution.

Distribution and status

Endemic to South Australia and found on the Eyre Peninsula, Yorke Peninsula, southern Flinders Ranges, Mount Lofty Ranges and Kangaroo Island, growing in sand in rocky areas, often near the coast.(Close examination of ADHerbarium specimens of Nicotiana maritima recorded from several sites in Victoria, has shown these to be either misidentified, or geographically misplaced (misinterpretation of South Australian localities for like-named places in Victoria). Native. Common in South Australia.
Herbarium regions: Flinders Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Arid Lands, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Erect herb to 0.7 m high, rarely taller, with hairy leaves and stems, usually grey-or white-woolly. Leaves, mostly basal to 22 cm long; ovate or elliptic, occasionally broadly so, or spatulate. Stem leaves narrow-elliptic or lanceolate, occasionally linear. Inflorescence erect panicle-spike, usually with few-branched, sparse to dense-haired, tubular white flowers. Flowering most of the year but mainly in spring. Fruits are brown ellipsoid to ovoid capsule to 12 mm long. Seeds are brown reniform seed to 1 mm long and 0.7 mm wide, covered in wrinkles. Seed embryo type is linear fully developed.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between October and January. 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 90%.

Seeds stored:
  Hide
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
Number
of plants
Date
collected
Collection number
Collection location
Date
stored
% ViabilityStorage
temperature
BGA 
MSB
27,500 (4 g)
27,500 (4 g)
100+16-Nov-2005MKJ140
Southern Lofty
9-Aug-200690%-18°C
BGA23,500 (3.63 g)40+26-Oct-2017JJS6
Southern Lofty
30-Jun-201875%-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.