Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Nicotiana (or as I grew up knowing it Nicotinia) includes a lot of plants with flowers and leaves that don't look all that much like each other - some small, some large; some fuzzy, some smooth; various colors. Also included is good old tobacco. This first is Nicotiana langsdorfii. I got the seed years ago in a seed exchange through an English group. I thought it was an English variety, but have since seen it in lots of places here, though the seed doesn't seem to be offered in all that many catalogs. It is about 3-4 feet tall and has smaller leaves and green flowers. It self seeds nicely and comes up late, seeming to flower almost overnight. It will continue until from late mid-summer until frost.
These next two are the flowers and leaves of Nicotiana sylvestris. The flowers and leaves are both quite large, the flowers probably 6 inches long and borne in groups at the top of scapes that can easily reach 6 feet tall.

The leaves are also big, easily up to 18 inches long. The vine going up the post on the left is Parthenocisis 'Fenway Park'.

I think I had a picture of this one up before, but it is the variegated Nicotiana. I would guess it is related to langsdorfii since the flowers are the same. This, as all of the others is supposed to self seed. The first two do reliably and since this is the first year for this one I'll save some seed just in case, but I expect it to appear near it's spot again next year.

These are the flowers on the variegated one and although it doesn't show as much as I had hoped, the pollen on these is a bright blue. Maybe the anthers too.

The last on which I thought I had a picture of but which I don't seem to have, is a white one with a much wider but shorter flower. This one shows just how persistent these can be since it isn't one I bought or grew or planted, but it can up in a bag of leaves we had across the street in our mulch pile. Someone in the city of Athens had these growing in their yard 2 years ago since this was an old pile and the bag was still sealed last summer. Even with all that heat, enough to turn the leaves in the bag to compost, the seeds survived and gave me a lovely plant this year. I will surely save the seed to grow for next year.

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