Plants of
South Australia
Nicotiana velutina
Solanaceae
Velvet 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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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 5.

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. Velutina, from the Latin 'velutinus', meaning velvety, alluding to the velvety hairs covering the plant.

Distribution and status

Found across much of South Australia, except on Kangaroo island, Yorke Peninsula, Mount Lofty Ranges and the South-east, growing on sand dunes and river sand banks. Also found in all mainland States. Native. Common in South Australia. Uncommon in Western Australia. Common in the other States.
Herbarium regions: North Western, Lake Eyre, Nullarbor, Gairdner-Torrens, Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula, Murray
NRM regions: Alinytjara Wilurara, Eyre Peninsula, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Arid Lands, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Erect herb to 1.5 m high, covered with velvety hairs. Leaves, radical and cauline, or mostly radical, elliptic; mostly to 20 cm long and to 8 cm wide, upper ones lanceolate or linear. Inflorescence an erect panicle-like spike with tubular white flowers. Flowering between April and November. Fruits are brown ellipsoid to ovoid capsule to 11 mm long. Seeds are brown reniform seed to 0.8 mm long and 0.5 mm wide, covered in small depressions. Seed embryo type is linear, fully- developed.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between May 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 five collections, the seed viability was high, ranging from 90% to 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
59,000 (7.68 g)
59,000 (7.68 g)
20022-Oct-2004MOL4537
Gairdner-Torrens
28-Mar-2006100%-18°C
BGA 
MSB
20,000 (3 g)
20,000 (3 g)
6024-Nov-2005DJD233
Eastern
9-Aug-200690%-18°C
BGA 
MSB
8,500 (1.1 g)
8,500 (1.1 g)
100+9-Nov-2005MKJ122
Gairdner-Torrens
9-Aug-200695%-18°C
BGA45,600 (5.28 g)507-May-2007RJB71512
Lake Eyre
19-Sep-2008100%-18°C
BGA98,300 (9.74 g)6-Sep-2013DJD2713
Lake Eyre
24-Mar-2015100%-18°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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