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Nicotiana plumbaginifolia

Nicotiana plumbaginifolia, also known as Tex-Mex tobacco, is the most abundant species of Nicotiana of the family Solanaceae (Knapp & Clarkson, 2004: 844). This species, a flowering annual herb that grows in suitable weedy habitats, is native to Mexico, parts of the Caribbean, and western and southern South America, and has been naturalized in the state of Florida (United States Department of Agriculture, 2015; Knapp & Clarkson, 2004: 844).

N. plumbaginifolia can grow up to 1 meter tall (Khan, 2008: 112). The leaves can be 17 cm in width and 8 cm in length (Khan, 2008: 114).The species has small, white, 5-petal flowers that are tube-like in shape with the tube ranging from 3 to 4 cm in length and 1 to 1.5 cm wide (Khan, 2008: 112). N. plumbaginifolia flowers from September through November annually (Figueroa-Castro & Holtsford, 2010: 121). The species is known to self-pollinate where its sister species Nicotiana longiflora is present (Figueroa-Castro & Holtsford, 2010: 129). This is due to a possible lack of pollinators in those areas and pollinators’ apparent preference for N. longiflora over N. plumbaginifolia in those areas (Figueroa-Castro & Holtsford, 2010: 127-129).

In Northern Argentina, the floral traits and mating systems of sister species of N. longiflora and N. plumbaginifolia were studied. These two species are self-compatible and inter-crossable in a greenhouse setting (Figueroa-Castro & Holtsford, 2010: 121). Twelve natural populations of N. longiflora and N. plumbaginifolia were located in northern Argentina. Six populations were solely made up of N. longiflora, four populations were N. plumbaginifolia and two populations included both species (Figueroa-Castro & Holtsford, 2010: 121). The results of this study showed that while the corolla length varied among populations, N. longiflora specimens had significantly longer corolla lengths than N. plumbaginifolia (Figueroa-Castro & Holtsford, 2010: 124). Additionally, both species had a low frequency of visits by pollinators, with a preference for N. longiflora over N. plumbaginifolia (Figueroa-Castro & Holtsford, 2010: 127). There was a reported total of 116 pollinator visits in 69 hours of nightly observation of both species populations (Figueroa-Castro & Holtsford, 2010: 127). The short corolla length of N. plumbaginifolia,coupled with the lack of pollinator visits to the plants, shows that while both of the species are able to self-pollinate, N. plumbaginifolia  self-pollinates more often than N. longiflora (Figueroa-Castro & Holtsford, 2010: 130-131).


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