Cultivated Tobacco Overview
Nicotiana tabacum is commonly known as Cultivated Tobacco. This plant is a herbaceous biennial or short-lived perennial species that is often grown as a half-hardy annual in temperate climates. It resides in the Solanaceae family and has a branching habit. Originating from Bolivia, this plant has been introduced around the world. It is the most frequently grown Nicotiana species, the leaves are harvested commercially for tobacco production. Typically growing to between 1-2m tall, this species is still under investigation, the working theory is that it is a natural hybrid formed from the species Nicotiana sylvestris and either Nicotiana tomentosiformis or possibly Nicotiana otophora. It produces sweetly scented, tubular to funnel-shaped, pink flowers measuring around 9cm in length, leading onto dry, oval-shaped fruits, these are a structure called a capsule, this is the most common type of plant fruit. In this species the fruit splits to release the seeds. This plant will self-seed if allowed, it produces a large number of tiny, grain-like seeds measuring approximately 0.8–1.5cm in length. This plant is considered an agricultural weed prone to escape from cultivation, it is also considered an environmental weed, a garden thug and a naturalised, noxious weed in many locations. It is invasive in Cuba, Asia and parts of the Pacific. This is due to its tolerance of a wide range of climatic and soil conditions and prolific reproduction.