Interim profile, incomplete information
Taxonomic name: Nicotiana glauca Graham
Common names: gandul (Spanish), guang yan cao (Chinese), kidachi tabako (Japanese), mustard tree, paka (Hawaiian), tabac canaque (French), tabaco moro (Spanish), tabaco moruno (Spanish), tabaco negro (Spanish), tree tabacco, wild tobacco, wildetabak (Afrikaans)
Organism type: shrub
Introduced in Hawaii, Ascension, Bermuda, Saint Helena and Canary islands Nicotiana glauca thrives in disturbed habitats as well as sandy beaches and coastal areas. It may pose a threat to pristine environments and native wildlife by altering habitats.
Nicotiana glauca is a shrub of up to 5 m high with glaucous leaves and tubular yellow flowers (Steenkamp van Heerden & van Wyk 2002).
It is an evergreen perennial, glabrous soft--wooded shrub or small tree, up to 6 m tall,with stems that are laxly branched. The leaves are stalked, alternate, elliptical to lanceolate or oval, pointed, bluish or greyish-green. The
flowers are greenish-yellow, 30 to 40 mm long, many are borne in a lax panicle. The corolla is tubular with a short-lobed limb. The fruit is an egg-shaped, two-valved capsule, 7 to 10 mm long and slightly longer than the persistent papery calyx. It produces a large quantity of tiny seeds, which can be dispersed by wind and water. All plant parts are extremely poisonous (Goodspeed 1954, Moore 1972, Blamey & Grey-Wilson 1998, in Bogdanovic et al. 2006).
coastland, range/grasslands, ruderal/disturbed, scrub/shrublands
Nicotiana glauca is distributed in warm temperate, arid and subtropical, dry and moist regions, beside roadsides and along riverbanks, up to altitudes of 3000 m (Goodspeed 1954, Cronk and Fuller 2001, in Bogdanovic et al. 2006). It is widespread throughout South Africa in places where the natural vegetation has been disturbed, such as roadsides and riverbanks (Steenkamp van Heerden & van Wyk 2002).
The Global Compendium of Weeds lists Nicotiana glauca as an agricultural weed, casual alien, cultivation escape, environmental weed, garden weed and noxious weed (GCW 2007). The species is reported as invasive in the western Mediterranean and, recently, in Croatia (Bogdanovic et al. 2006). ;According to Cronk and Fuller (2001) N. glauca belongs
to the invasive category 3: invading seminatural or natural habitats which are of some conservation interest (in Bogdanovic et al. 2006).
On Ascension Island it may pose a threat to the previously pristine area of the Hummock Point nature reserve. As it establishes well in coastal areas it could affect nesting turtles (Varnham 2006). N. glauca is recorded as invasive in the Canary Islands (Spain) (Brandes & Fritzsch 2002).
Anabasine, the toxic alkaloid of N. glauca has been linked to human fatalities. In the cases documented it was found to be accidentally collected with traditional spinach (marog) (Steenkamp van Heerden & van Wyk 2002). Animal deaths, mainly of ostriches, have also been reported (Steenkamp van Heerden & van Wyk 2002).
The smoking of Nicotiana glauca has been reported and the plant has also been used medicinally and in ethnoveterinary medicine. Warmed leaves are applied to the head to relieve headache, on the throat to relieve pain and put in shoes for painful feet. It has been used as an insecticide, but its use has been discontinued due to
the development of more specific and less toxic insecticides (Steenkamp van Heerden & van Wyk 2002).
Native range: Nicotiana glauca is a cosmopolitan bird-pollinated plant native to South America (northwest and central Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Uruguay), (Bogdanovic et al. 2006; USDA-ARS 2005).
Known introduced range: Naturalised in Europe, Africa, temperate Asia, Australia, New Zealand, United States (including Hawaii), Mexico and Macaronesia (USDA-ARS 2005).
Physical: Hand pull or dig out seedlings and young plants.
Chemical: Cut large plants and treat the stumps with herbicide. In South Africa the plants are cut and stumps treated with 2,4,5-T (Cronk & Fuller 2001, in PIER 2007).
Biological: Successful control has been achieved where the plants were sprayed with herbicide and the exposed to the beetle Malabris aculeata (Cronk & Fuller 2001, in PIER 2007).
Compiled by: IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) with support from the EU-funded South Atlantic Invasive Species project, coordinated by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)
Last Modified: Monday, 16 August 2010