Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Nicotiana glauca
(tree tobacco)

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Datasheet

Nicotiana glauca (tree tobacco)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 13 December 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Nicotiana glauca
  • Preferred Common Name
  • tree tobacco
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • N. glauca is an evergreen shrub or small tree native to central northwest Argentina and Bolivia. It is a successful invasive of semi-arid disturbed areas worldwide, where it forms dense monodominant stands due...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Nicotiana glauca (tree tobacco); habit. Kahului, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April, 2013.
TitleHabit
CaptionNicotiana glauca (tree tobacco); habit. Kahului, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April, 2013.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Nicotiana glauca (tree tobacco); habit. Kahului, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April, 2013.
HabitNicotiana glauca (tree tobacco); habit. Kahului, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April, 2013.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Nicotiana glauca (tree tobacco); habit, with Kim Starr for scale. Ulupalakua Ranch, Maui, Hawaii, USA. July, 2013.
TitleHabit
CaptionNicotiana glauca (tree tobacco); habit, with Kim Starr for scale. Ulupalakua Ranch, Maui, Hawaii, USA. July, 2013.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Nicotiana glauca (tree tobacco); habit, with Kim Starr for scale. Ulupalakua Ranch, Maui, Hawaii, USA. July, 2013.
HabitNicotiana glauca (tree tobacco); habit, with Kim Starr for scale. Ulupalakua Ranch, Maui, Hawaii, USA. July, 2013.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Nicotiana glauca (tree tobacco); habit and leaves. Kahului, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April, 2013.
TitleHabit
CaptionNicotiana glauca (tree tobacco); habit and leaves. Kahului, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April, 2013.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Nicotiana glauca (tree tobacco); habit and leaves. Kahului, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April, 2013.
HabitNicotiana glauca (tree tobacco); habit and leaves. Kahului, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April, 2013.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Nicotiana glauca (tree tobacco); flowers and leaves. LZ1, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. February, 2008.
TitleFlowers
CaptionNicotiana glauca (tree tobacco); flowers and leaves. LZ1, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. February, 2008.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Nicotiana glauca (tree tobacco); flowers and leaves. LZ1, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. February, 2008.
FlowersNicotiana glauca (tree tobacco); flowers and leaves. LZ1, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. February, 2008.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Nicotiana glauca (tree tobacco); spent seed pods. Kahului Airport, Maui, Hawaii, USA. November, 2006.
TitleSeed pods
CaptionNicotiana glauca (tree tobacco); spent seed pods. Kahului Airport, Maui, Hawaii, USA. November, 2006.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Nicotiana glauca (tree tobacco); spent seed pods. Kahului Airport, Maui, Hawaii, USA. November, 2006.
Seed podsNicotiana glauca (tree tobacco); spent seed pods. Kahului Airport, Maui, Hawaii, USA. November, 2006.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Nicotiana glauca (tree tobacco); seedlings. Kanaha Beach, Maui, Hawaii, USA. January, 2004.
TitleSeedlings
CaptionNicotiana glauca (tree tobacco); seedlings. Kanaha Beach, Maui, Hawaii, USA. January, 2004.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Nicotiana glauca (tree tobacco); seedlings. Kanaha Beach, Maui, Hawaii, USA. January, 2004.
SeedlingsNicotiana glauca (tree tobacco); seedlings. Kanaha Beach, Maui, Hawaii, USA. January, 2004.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Nicotiana glauca (tree tobacco); adopted habit and leaves. Note green morph larva of the endemic hawkmoth Manduca blackburni (Lepidoptera, Sphingidae). Kahului, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April, 2013. Were it not for the presence of this ‘invasive’ plant, the threatened M. blackburni would be close to extinction on Hawaii. It has almost totally transferred its larval feeding habits from a now rare native Nothocestrum species to N. glauca and other introduced Solanaceae.
TitleLeaves
CaptionNicotiana glauca (tree tobacco); adopted habit and leaves. Note green morph larva of the endemic hawkmoth Manduca blackburni (Lepidoptera, Sphingidae). Kahului, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April, 2013. Were it not for the presence of this ‘invasive’ plant, the threatened M. blackburni would be close to extinction on Hawaii. It has almost totally transferred its larval feeding habits from a now rare native Nothocestrum species to N. glauca and other introduced Solanaceae.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Nicotiana glauca (tree tobacco); adopted habit and leaves. Note green morph larva of the endemic hawkmoth Manduca blackburni (Lepidoptera, Sphingidae). Kahului, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April, 2013. Were it not for the presence of this ‘invasive’ plant, the threatened M. blackburni would be close to extinction on Hawaii. It has almost totally transferred its larval feeding habits from a now rare native Nothocestrum species to N. glauca and other introduced Solanaceae.
LeavesNicotiana glauca (tree tobacco); adopted habit and leaves. Note green morph larva of the endemic hawkmoth Manduca blackburni (Lepidoptera, Sphingidae). Kahului, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April, 2013. Were it not for the presence of this ‘invasive’ plant, the threatened M. blackburni would be close to extinction on Hawaii. It has almost totally transferred its larval feeding habits from a now rare native Nothocestrum species to N. glauca and other introduced Solanaceae.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Nicotiana glauca Graham

Preferred Common Name

  • tree tobacco

Other Scientific Names

  • Acnistus virgatus Griseb.
  • Nicotiana glauca fro.lateritia Lillo
  • Nicotiana glauca var. angustifolia Comes
  • Nicotiana glauca var. decurrens Comes
  • Nicotiana glauca var. grandiflora Comes
  • Nicotidendron glauca (Graham) Griseb.
  • Siphaulax glabra Raf.

International Common Names

  • English: glaucous-leaf tobacco; mustard tree; tobacco-bush; wild tobacco
  • Spanish: aciculito; almorranera; berenjena del diablo; bobo; calenturero; charuto-do-rei; gandul; giganton; palan palan; palqui extranchero; tabac silvestre; tabaco moro; tabaco moruno; tabaco negre; tabaquillo; venenero
  • French: tabac arborescent; tabac canaque; tabac en arbre; tabac glauque
  • Chinese: guang yan cao

Local Common Names

  • Cuba: tabaco cimarrón
  • Germany: Blauer Tabak; Blaugruner tabak
  • Greece: arkokapnos; giatros
  • Israel: tabbak ha'siakh
  • Italy: tabacco glauco
  • Japan: kidachi tabako
  • Malta: tabakk tas-swar
  • Portugal: charuteira; charuto do rei; roca-de-venus; tabaco-arboreo; tabaco-bravo; tabaqueira azul
  • South Africa: wildetabak
  • Sweden: blatobak
  • USA/Hawaii: makahala; paka

EPPO code

  • NIOGL (Nicotiana glauca)

Summary of Invasiveness

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N. glauca is an evergreen shrub or small tree native to central northwest Argentina and Bolivia. It is a successful invasive of semi-arid disturbed areas worldwide, where it forms dense monodominant stands due to its high rates of fruit and seed set, high viability of seeds and frequent recruitment of seedlings into populations (Ollerton et al., 2012). N. glauca is also an invasive species on some islands and is considered a severe threat species on Ascension Island (Gray et al., 2005). In Australia, N. glauca is listed as a naturalised weed of the natural environment (Randall, 2007). It is listed in the Global Compendium of Weeds as an agricultural weed, cultivation escape, environmental weed and noxious weed (GCW, 2013) and is also listed on the Global Invasive Species Database (ISSG, 2013). 

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Solanales
  •                         Family: Solanaceae
  •                             Genus: Nicotiana
  •                                 Species: Nicotiana glauca

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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The genus Nicotiana has 76 naturally-occurring species (Bogdanovic et al., 2006). Nicotiana glauca has three varieties, but there is little information regarding its hybridisation with other species.

Description

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N. glauca is an evergreen perennial soft-wooded shrub or small tree up to 6m in height with many branches. Leaves are on stalks, alternate, smooth, succulent with a thick epicuticular waxy layer (González et al., 2012), elliptical to lanceolate or oval, pointed and bluish or grey-green, 5-25 cm long; the leaf petiole is not winged. Flowers are greenish-yellow, 30-40 mm long, and are in branched clusters (panicles). The corolla is tubular with a short-lobed limb. Fruits are egg-shaped in the form of a two-valved capsule, 7-10 mm long and slightly longer than the persistent papery calyx. N. glauca produces large quantities of tiny seeds (0.6 mm long) (Bogdanovic et al., 2006 and references within).

Flowers last for approximately 3 days, have diurnal anthesis and are scentless. Most populations have flowers which are greenish-yellow, but in some populations there is colour polymorphism including dark red, reddish-yellow and yellow morphs (Nattero and Cocucci, 2007). All non-native populations that have been studied to date have only yellow flowers, which may reflect the introduction of a limited set of genotypes into the alien range (Ollerton et al., 2012). An individual tree can produce 10,000-1,000,000 seeds per year, with seed viability nearly 100% (Florentine et al., 2006).

Distribution

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N. glauca is native to central northwest Argentina and Bolivia (Goodspeed, 1954, in Ollerton et al., 2012). N. glauca has invaded Central and North America (Mexico, southern US states including California), Africa (including Morocco, South Africa and Namibia), Israel, Australia and St. Helena, and is widely naturalized in the Mediterranean (Cronk and Fuller, 2001; Schueller, 2004 in Bogdanovic et al., 2006). In Israel, N. glauca is widely distributed from mesic to arid environments, including the Negev desert (Barazani et al., 2004). N. glauca is also invasive on Ascension Island (Gray et al., 2005; ISSG, 2013).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasivePlantedReferenceNotes

Asia

ChinaPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedeFloras, 2013
IsraelBarazani et al., 2004; Ollerton et al., 2012; DAISIE, 2013; ISSG, 2013; USDA-ARS, 2013
LebanonPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2013
TurkeyPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2013; USDA-ARS, 2013

Africa

AlgeriaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2013
BotswanaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2013
Cape VerdePresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2013
EgyptPresentIntroducedISSG, 2013; USDA-ARS, 2013Including Sinai
EritreaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2013
EthiopiaPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-ARS, 2013; Witt and Luke, 2017
KenyaPresentIntroduced Invasive BioNET-EAFRINET, The East African Network for Taxonomy
LesothoPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2013
LibyaUnconfirmed recordCAB Abstracts
MalawiPresentIntroduced Invasive Witt and Luke, 2017
MoroccoPresentIntroducedISSG, 2013; USDA-ARS, 2013
MozambiquePresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2013
NamibiaPresentIntroducedSteenkamp et al., 2002; ISSG, 2013; USDA-ARS, 2013
Saint HelenaPresentIntroduced Invasive ISSG, 2013
South AfricaPresentIntroducedSteenkamp et al., 2002; ISSG, 2013; USDA-ARS, 2013
Spain
-Canary IslandsPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2013; ISSG, 2013; USDA-ARS, 2013
TanzaniaPresentIntroduced Invasive BioNET-EAFRINET, The East African Network for Taxonomy
TunisiaPresentIntroducedISSG, 2013; USDA-ARS, 2013
UgandaPresentIntroduced Invasive BioNET-EAFRINET, The East African Network for Taxonomy
ZambiaPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-ARS, 2013; Witt and Luke, 2017
ZimbabwePresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2013

North America

BermudaPresentIntroducedISSG, 2013
MexicoPresentIntroducedISSG, 2013; USDA-ARS, 2013
USAPresentIntroducedISSG, 2013; USDA-ARS, 2013
-AlabamaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-ArizonaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-CaliforniaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-FloridaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-GeorgiaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-HawaiiPresentIntroducedWagner et al., 1999; Evenhuis and Eldredge, 2003; Space et al., 2009; PIER, 2013; USDA-ARS, 2013; USDA-NRCS, 2013
-MarylandPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-NevadaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-New JerseyPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-New MexicoPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-OhioPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-TexasPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013

Central America and Caribbean

BarbadosPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012
CubaPresentIntroduced Invasive Acevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012; Oviedo Prieto et al., 2012
JamaicaPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012
MartiniquePresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012

South America

ArgentinaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013Buenos Aires, Catamarca, Cordoba, Corrientes, Entre Rios, Federal District, Formosa, Jujuy, La Rioja, Mendoza, Salta, San Luis, Santa Fe, Santiago de Estero, Tucuman
BoliviaPresentNative Natural USDA-ARS, 2013
BrazilPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2013
-Mato Grosso do SulPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2013
-Rio Grande do SulPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2013
ChilePresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2013
ParaguayPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2013
UruguayPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2013
VenezuelaPresentGonzález et al., 2012

Europe

CroatiaPresentIntroduced Invasive Bogdanovic et al., 2006
CyprusPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2013
FinlandPresentIntroducedISSG, 2013
FrancePresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2013; ISSG, 2013; USDA-ARS, 2013Including Corsica
-CorsicaPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2013
GibraltarPresentIntroduced Invasive ISSG, 2013
GreecePresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2013; ISSG, 2013; USDA-ARS, 2013Including Crete
ItalyPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2013; ISSG, 2013; USDA-ARS, 2013Including Sardinia and Sicily
MaltaPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2013
PortugalPresentIntroducedFreitas et al., 2009; ISSG, 2013; USDA-ARS, 2013
-MadeiraPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2013; USDA-ARS, 2013
SpainPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2013; ISSG, 2013; USDA-ARS, 2013
-Balearic IslandsPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2013
UKPresentIntroduced Invasive ISSG, 2013Channel Islands
UkrainePresentIntroduced Invasive ISSG, 2013

Oceania

AustraliaPresentIntroducedISSG, 2013; PIER, 2013; USDA-ARS, 2013
-Australian Northern TerritoryPresentIntroduced Invasive Weeds of Australia, 2013
-New South WalesPresentIntroduced Invasive Weeds of Australia, 2013
-QueenslandPresentIntroduced Invasive Weeds of Australia, 2013
-South AustraliaPresentIntroduced Invasive Weeds of Australia, 2013
-VictoriaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Weeds of Australia, 2013
-Western AustraliaPresentIntroduced Invasive Weeds of Australia, 2013
French PolynesiaPresentPIER, 2013Clipperton (Arue, Avera) Island
Johnston IslandPresentIntroducedPIER, 2013; USDA-ARS, 2013
Marshall IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive ISSG, 2013; PIER, 2013Enewetak (Anewetak, Eniwetok) Atoll
New CaledoniaPresentIntroducedISSG, 2013; PIER, 2013Ile Grande Terre
New ZealandPresentIntroducedISSG, 2013; USDA-ARS, 2013

History of Introduction and Spread

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N. glauca has been widely introduced as a garden and landscape ornamental, and is now a significant invasive plant of semi-arid regions of the world (Ollerton et al., 2012). It has been introduced for at least 100 years in Argentina, Peru, Mexico, California, South Africa and Israel (Ollerton et al., 2012).

In Croatia it has been recorded in four localities, having first been discovered on the island of Lokrum in 1977 (Bogdanovic et al., 2006). It was first observed in Israel in 1890 (Ollerton et al., 2012).

N. glauca was introduced to the USA in the early 1800s as a landscape ornamental (DiTomaso et al., 2013). It was transported to the Hawaiian Islands by accident and was first recorded in 1865, and is now present on Maui, Lanai, Kahoolawe and Oahu (Stone et al., 1992). In California it was first recorded in 1879, and has since colonized the Channel Islands of Santa Cataline (early 1900s) and Santa Cruz (1971) (Schueller, 2004 and references within).

Elsewhere, N. glauca has been introduced to Ascension Island (Gray et al., 2005) where populations of N. glauca are reported to have ‘exploded’ over the past 20 years (Lambdon et al., 2009). In Namibia it was most likely introduced via contaminated horse feed between 1884-1914, and from there it spread to South Africa (Steenkamp et al., 2002).

Introductions

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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
California 1879 Yes Schueller (2004)
Croatia 1977 Yes Bogdanovic et al. (2006)
Hawaii 1865 Yes Stone et al. (1992)
Israel 1890 Yes Ollerton et al. (2012)
Namibia 1884-1914 Forage (pathway cause) Yes Steenkamp et al. (2002) Accidental introduction
South Africa Namibia 1884-1914 Yes Steenkamp et al. (2002)
USA 1800s Ornamental purposes (pathway cause) Yes DiTomaso et al. (2013)

Risk of Introduction

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There is a high risk of introduction to new regions because N. glauca displays a number of ecological traits leading to invasiveness, such as high seed production (10,000-1,000,000 seeds per plant per year), formation of a soil seed bank, ability to endure drought and flooding (including seedlings), high ability to re-sprout and high germination rates under a range of conditions (Florentine and Westbrooke, 2005; Florentine et al., 2006; González et al., 2012).

Historically, N. glauca has been transported worldwide as an ornamental species (Ollerton et al., 2012), which has been the principle means of its escape and colonization. As it is still used as an ornamental species there is a risk of introduction from future escapes.

N. glauca is a pioneer plant in many disturbed ecosystems and in waste dumping sites (Barazani et al., 2004); therefore disturbed sites are of particular risk from N. glauca invasion. This is especially true as the species has potential for use in bioremediation of heavy metal-contaminated sites (Barazani et al., 2004), and its use for this purpose could lead to the invasion of new areas.

Its ability to self-fertilise also means that a single colonizing individual could lead to an invasion of a region or island (Schueller, 2004); therefore, the presence of even a single plant puts an area at high risk of invasion.

Habitat

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Within its native range N. glauca is a scattered and rarely abundant plant of dry and disturbed areas such as river banks, road sides and quarries. It is found from 0-3700 m above sea level (González et al., 2012) in semi-arid conditions, but never in wet areas (Ollerton et al., 2012). As an invasive it is found in semi-arid disturbed areas worldwide.

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Principal habitat Natural
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Riverbanks Present, no further details Natural
Scrub / shrublands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Deserts Present, no further details Natural
Arid regions Present, no further details Natural
Littoral
Coastal areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

N. glauca is a natural diploid with 24 chromosomes (Trojak-Goluch and Berbec, 2005). All non-native populations have only yellow flowers, which may reflect the introduction of a limited set of genotypes into the alien range (Ollerton et al., 2012). There is currently no detailed information on its hybridisation.

Reproductive biology

Flowering commences around one year after germination (Florentine and Westbrooke, 2005). In its native range, N. glauca is pollinated exclusively by hummingbirds (Nattero et al., 2011; Ollerton et al., 2012).

In the parts of its alien range where specialised bird pollinators (such as hummingbirds in California and sunbirds in South Africa and Israel) exist, N. glauca sets seed by both out-crossing and selfing. Where no such pollinators exist in its alien range, seed is set by selfing, which is facilitated by the shorter stigma-anther distance compared to plants in its native range (Ollerton et al., 2012). Nattero and Cocucci (2007) found that fruit quality is dependent on the degree of cross-pollination. Island populations of N. glauca show a higher capacity to self-pollinate compared to mainland plants (Schueller, 2004).

N. glauca exhibits geographical variation in corolla length and width between populations due to different hummingbird species pollinating plants in different regions (Nattero and Cocucci, 2007).

On the Californian Channel Islands, plants have longer corollas compared to mainland plants due to the specific hummingbird pollinator species present (Schueller, 2007). Climatic factors and altitude also affect flower traits between populations (Nattero et al., 2011).

A mature plant can produce 10,000-1,000,000 seeds each year (Florentine and Westbrooke, 2005). The small size of seeds (0.6 mm long) suggests that they do not survive more than 1 or 2 years in the soil (DiTomaso et al., 2013), but a soil seed bank can form nonetheless (Florentine and Westbrooke, 2005).

Seeds can germinate within 2-3 days under various light and temperature conditions (Florentine et al., 2006) with around 90% viability (Ollerton et al., 2012). Temperature has a significant effect on N. glauca germination, with germination rates increasing with temperature.

There is no clonal reproduction, although broken stems can re-sprout (Ollerton et al., 2012).

Environmental requirements

Within its native range N. glauca is a scattered and rarely abundant plant of dry and disturbed areas such as river banks, road sides and quarries. It is found from 0-3700 m above sea level (González et al., 2012) in semi-arid conditions, but never in wet areas (Ollerton et al., 2012).

Partial tolerance of N. glauca to drought and salinity comes from physiological adaptation to conserve water through closure of stomata and osmotic adjustment, as well as reducing absorption of excess radiation due to the presence of a waxy layer on leaves (González et al., 2012).

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
BS - Steppe climate Preferred > 430mm and < 860mm annual precipitation
BW - Desert climate Preferred < 430mm annual precipitation
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural dispersal (non-biotic)

Seeds are chiefly spread by water (DiTomaso et al., 2013; Florentine and Westbrooke, 2005), leading to local dispersal.

Vector transmission (biotic)

Animals can act as local seed dispersers, although seeds are not specifically adapted for this dispersal method (DiTomaso et al., 2013; PIER Risk Assessment, 2013). Dispersal by specific vertebrate species is not recorded, and no other sources cite animals as a dispersal method for N. glauca.

Intentional introduction

N. glauca has been intentionally introduced as an ornamental plant (Ollerton et al., 2012), which has led to the species being dispersed nationally and internationally.

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Cultural/amenity Negative
Economic/livelihood Negative
Environment (generally) Positive and negative
Human health Negative

Economic Impact

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In a study in Mexico, N. glauca was shown to be a potential reservoir of important viruses of cultivated crop plants, including cucumber mosaic virus, tobacco mosaic virus and potato virus Y (Aviña-Padilla et al., 2008). In California, N. glauca is a host plant of tomato infectious chlorosis virus (TICV) which causes economic losses for commercial tomato production (Jones, 2001).

Ingestion of N. glauca has reportedly caused the deaths of farmed ostriches. N. glauca contains anabasine which is closely related to nicotine and in large doses can cause death by respiratory paralysis (Botha et al., 2011). It has also caused birth defects in goats and sheep due to ingestion during gestation (Panter et al., 2000).

Environmental Impact

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N. glauca is listed as an ‘invasive category 3’ species (i.e. invading semi-natural or natural habitats, which are of some conservation interest) by Cronk and Fuller (2001, in Bogdanovic et al. 2006).

N. glauca is a problem in all provinces of South Africa and is a declared weed under existing legislation (CARA 2002 - category 1; Invasive Species South Africa, 2013).

In the USA it is listed as a non-native invasive plant species in southern forest and grassland ecosystems (USDA Forest Survey Regional Task Force, 2013). It is also under consideration to be added to the Invasive Weed Priority List for El Dorado County (UCCE, 2013), and is classed as having ‘moderate invasiveness’ by the California Invasive Plant Council (2013). On the Hawaiian Islands it is listed as an invasive or potentially invasive cultivated plant (Staples et al., 2000), and has been included in a preliminary list of alien seed plants in the Hawaiian Islands (Stone et al., 1992). N. glauca has been deemed a high risk species (score = 15) in a risk assessment developed for the Hawaiian Islands (PIER Risk Assessment, 2013).

Impact on habitats

N. glauca grows rapidly and forms dense stands which displaces native vegetation, and when present on riverbanks, can contribute to bank erosion and flooding (DiTomaso et al., 2013).

On Ascension Island, the presence of invasive species including N. glauca increases the likelihood of colonisation by other alien plants and encourages rabbits and sheep to graze at lower altitudes. Its presence also inhibits habitat restoration efforts on the island (Lambdon et al., 2009).

N. glauca is present in the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (Arizona), but is not known to currently persist in the reserve, and is removed by park authorities when encountered (Stone et al., 1992).

Impact on biodiversity

In its alien range N. glauca forms large monodominant populations which prevent the growth of native plant species (Ollerton et al., 2012). Leachates from N. glauca leaf litter and twigs inhibit the germination of native species (Florentine and Westbrooke, 2005).

On Ascension Island, N. glauca is reported to be capable of displacing endemic species by dominating a particular site and altering ecological conditions such as light, nutrient and water availability. It is a severe threat species to Euphorbia origanoides (critically endangered) and Anogramma ascensionis (Gray et al., 2005).

Threatened Species

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Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Anogramma ascensionis (Ascension Island Parsley Fern)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered)AscensionGray et al., 2005

Social Impact

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Large infestations of N. glauca in riparian zones can decrease water flow and reduce recreational use of water bodies (DiTomaso et al., 2013).

The ingestion of N. glauca by humans has resulted in death due to the compound anabasine, which is more toxic than nicotine in humans, and can cause death by respiratory paralysis (Sims et al., 1999; Steenkamp et al., 2002).

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
  • Reproduces asexually
Impact outcomes
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Increases vulnerability to invasions
  • Modification of hydrology
  • Modification of nutrient regime
  • Monoculture formation
  • Negatively impacts human health
  • Negatively impacts animal health
  • Negatively impacts livelihoods
  • Reduced native biodiversity
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition
  • Pest and disease transmission
  • Poisoning
  • Rapid growth
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately

Uses

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Economic value

Extracts of N. glauca have been found to inhibit larval development of parasitic gastrointestinal nematodes in livestock. There is therefore potential for its use to prevent diseases associated with gastrointestinal nematodes, which cause economic loss to farmers through reduction in ruminant production worldwide (Molefe et al., 2013). N. glauca also contains vitamin D3 compounds, and could be used as a tool for biotechnological production of D3 compounds (vitamin D3 is a hormonally-relevant metabolite in animals) (Skliar et al., 2000).

N. glauca leaf and flower extracts have important antifungal effects against phytopathogenic fungi, and there is potential for use of extracts as a natural biofungicide to protect organically-grown crops (Mdee et al., 2009; Rinez et al., 2012). N. glauca is resistant to black root rot and powdery mildew, and may therefore be a source of genetic resistance. Experimental hybridisation with the commercially important tobacco plant N. tabacum has conferred some resistance to these diseases (Trojak-Goluch and Berbec, 2005).

There is also potential for N. glauca to be used as a biofuel as it produces large quantities of above-ground biomass and contains a high level of non-structural carbohydrates in its stems and leaves. Hydrocarbon extract could therefore be produced in a non-invasive manner and remaining biomass could be used for bioethanol production (Mortimer et al., 2012).

Social benefit

N. glauca is a popular ornamental plant (Ollerton et al., 2012) used in urban landscapes and gardens.

N. glauca has been used medicinally and in ethno-veterinary medicine (Steenkamp et al., 2002, and references within). Warm leaves are applied to the head and throat to relieve pain, and inside shoes to ease painful feet.

Environmental services

N. glauca could be a good plant for phytoremediation of contaminated sites, including heavy-metal contamination, due to its wide geographic distribution, fast growth, and because it is repulsive to herbivores (Gisbert et al., 2003). N. glauca can grow on land contaminated with heavy metals, can accumulate copper, zinc and iron in roots and shoots (Barazani et al., 2004), and can also accumulate arsenic, antimony, bromine and chromium (Freitas et al., 2009). Genetic modification of the N. glauca can enhance the ability of plants to take in heavy metals (Martínez et al., 2006); Gisbert et al. (2003) found that genetically modified N. glauca accumulated double the concentration of lead than wild types.

N. glauca is a host plant for the endangered Hawaiian sphinx moth (Manduca blackburni) on the islands of Maui, Kahoolawe and Hawaii (Evenhuis and Eldredge, 2003).

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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N. glauca is closely related to commercial tobacco N. tabacum (Steenkamp et al., 2002), and is similar to other Nicotiana species, including N. rustica. N. glauca has distinctive smooth leaves which separate it from N. rustica and N. tabacum (Bogdanovic et al., 2006).

Prevention and Control

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Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.

Physical/mechanical control

Hand pulling can remove seedlings and small saplings. For larger more established shrubs, a weed wrench or other woody weed extractor should be used. Care must be taken to remove the entire crown to prevent re-sprouting. Cutting before flowering is also effective at reducing seed production; however, re-sprouting is common. Cutting at the end of the dry season (if applicable) can help prevent re-sprouting. Cutting should also be combined with herbicide treatment, or should be repeated over a number of years (DiTomaso et al, 2013). Florentine et al. (2006) recommended early control of N. glauca.

Chemical control

Chemical control by herbicides such as triclopyr, imazapyr or glyphosate is effective for controlling N. glauca (DiTomaso et al., 2013).

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

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More information on the specific habitat and environmental requirements of N. glauca would be useful. Research into the development of biological control methods, and other methods of control would also be of benefit. Better quantification of N. glauca’s impact on specific species (especially threatened species) would help with assessing its environmental impact more thoroughly.

References

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Aviña-Padilla K, Ochoa-Sánchez JC, Martínez-Soriano JP, 2008. Nicotiana glauca L. Arvense is a reservoir of plant pathogen viruses. (Nicotiana glauca L. Arvense es reservorio de virus fitopatógenos.) Revista Mexicana de fitopatologia, 26(2):188-190

Barazani O, Peramachi Sathiyamoorthy, Manandhar U, Vulkan R, Golan-Goldhirsh A, 2004. Heavy metal accumulation by Nicotiana glauca Graham in a solid waste disposal site. Chemosphere, 54(7):867-872. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6V74-4B0X3JK-2&_user=3796239&_handle=V-WA-A-W-WD-MsSAYWA-UUW-U-AAWBZVWZWC-AAWAWWBVWC-WAYDUZVVE-WD-U&_fmt=full&_coverDate=02%2F29%2F2004&_rdoc=10&_orig=browse&_srch=%23toc%235832%232004%23999459992%23470890!&_cdi=5832&view=c&_acct=C000000593&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=3796239&md5=4ee4783aee5a68e5d0fd24554f22722a

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Links to Websites

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WebsiteURLComment
AGIS : Agricultural Geo-References Information System: weeds and invasive plantshttp://www.agis.agric.za/wip/
BioNET-EARFRINEThttp://keys.lucidcentral.org/keys/v3/eafrinet//weeds/key/weeds/Media/Html/Nicotiana_glauca_(Tree_Tobacco).htm
California Invasive Plant Councilhttp://www.cal-ipc.org
DAISIE species factsheet: Nicotiana glaucahttp://www.europe-aliens.org/speciesFactsheet.do?speciesId=20470#
eFloras.org: factsheet Nicotiana glaucahttp://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=200020548
Germplasm Resources Information Network; Nicotiana glaucahttp://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?25270
GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gatewayhttps://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m93f6Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.
Global Compendium of Weeds: factsheet Nicotiana glaucahttp://www.hear.org/gcw/species/nicotiana_glauca/
Global Invasive Species Database: factsheet Nicotiana glaucahttp://www.issg.org/database/species/ecology.asp?fr=1&si=1453
Global register of Introduced and Invasive species (GRIIS)http://griis.org/Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.
Invasive Species South Africa: Nicotiana glaucahttp://www.invasives.org.za/invasive-species/item/288-wild-tobacco%7Cnicotiana-glauca.html
Pacific Island Ecosystem at Risk: Risk Assessmenthttp://www.hear.org/pier/wra/pacific/nicotiana_glauca_htmlwra.htm
Pacific island Ecosystems at Risk: Nicotiana glaucahttp://www.hear.org/pier/species/nicotiana_glauca.htm
The Plant List: Nicotiana glaucahttp://www.theplantlist.org/tpl/record/tro-29600076
Tropicos.org: Nicotiana glaucahttp://tropicos.org/Name/29600076
University of California Cooperative Extension: Nicotiana glaucahttp://cecentralsierra.uncanr.edu/Invasive_Weed_Management_Program/El_Dorado_County/
USDA Forest Service Regional Task Forcehttp://www.invasive.org/south/plants.html
USDA PLANTS database: Nicotiana glaucahttp://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=NIGL&mapType=nativity&photoID=nigl_001-ahp.tif
Weeds of Australia: Nicotiana glaucahttp://keyserver.lucidcentral.org/weeds/data/03030800-0b07-490a-8d04-0605030c0f01/media/Html/Nicotiana_glauca.htm

Contributors

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05/05/13 Original text by:

Isabel Jones, consultant, UK

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