Tobaccos & Allies

Apple-of-Peru Apple-of-Peru Common Henbane Woodland Tobacco

What are they?

This group of plants consists of mostly introduced members of the nightshade family (Solanaceae) and contains an interesting mix of species that are rather diverse in appearance and difficult to define as a group. This family of plants, perhaps more than any other, famously contains a number of alkaloids which can be very poisonous if taken in quantity but which, in measured amounts, can provide important medication.

Where are they found?

This is a diverse group, but most are garden ornamentals so are most likely to be found as throw-outs on rough ground and marginal land in urban environments. Common Henbane has sadly become a rather rare plant but still persists in a few traditional locations on light, sandy soils.

Identification

Many plants in this group have glandular hairy leaves that often have a rather peculiar, slightly sticky feel to them. The flowers have five petals which are typically fused at the base for much of their length to form a tubular or bell-shaped flower and the tubular base can be surprisingly long and narrow, especially in the tobaccos. The colour of the flowers and shape of the petals will narrow down your search initially, while leaf shape and fruit details are also important.



Hybrid Petunia      Petunia x hybrida

Introduced as a garden ornamental. A scrambling perennial plant, widespread in all but the driest, sandy soils. A highly adaptable plant, found naturally in wetlands (especially species-poor reed stands) and on shingle beaches but also regularly as an arable and ditchside weed. Flowers June to September. Leaves variable, from simple to unevenly lobed at the base. Stems thin and tough, scrambling and sometimes twining through and over other vegetation.

Hybrid Petunia Hybrid Petunia Hybrid Petunia Hybrid Petunia
Habit
Flower
Leaf
Stem hairs


Apple-of-Peru      Nicandra physalodes

Introduced as a garden ornamental. A scrambling perennial plant, widespread in all but the driest, sandy soils. A highly adaptable plant, found naturally in wetlands (especially species-poor reed stands) and on shingle beaches but also regularly as an arable and ditchside weed. Flowers June to September. Leaves variable, from simple to unevenly lobed at the base. Stems thin and tough, scrambling and sometimes twining through and over other vegetation.

Apple-of-Peru Apple-of-Peru Apple-of-Peru Apple-of-Peru
Habit
Flower
Leaf
Fruit (opened to show berry)


Common Thorn-apple      Datura stramonium

Introduced as a garden ornamental. A scrambling perennial plant, widespread in all but the driest, sandy soils. A highly adaptable plant, found naturally in wetlands (especially species-poor reed stands) and on shingle beaches but also regularly as an arable and ditchside weed. Flowers June to September. Leaves variable, from simple to unevenly lobed at the base. Stems thin and tough, scrambling and sometimes twining through and over other vegetation.

Common Thorn-apple Common Thorn-apple Common Thorn-apple Common Thorn-apple
Habit
Flower
Leaf
Fruit
Common Thorn-apple Common Thorn-apple Common Thorn-apple
Flower
Flower
Fruit


Recurved Thorn-apple      Datura innoxia

Introduced as a garden ornamental. A scrambling perennial plant, widespread in all but the driest, sandy soils. A highly adaptable plant, found naturally in wetlands (especially species-poor reed stands) and on shingle beaches but also regularly as an arable and ditchside weed. Flowers June to September. Leaves variable, from simple to unevenly lobed at the base. Stems thin and tough, scrambling and sometimes twining through and over other vegetation.

Recurved Thorn-apple Recurved Thorn-apple Recurved Thorn-apple Recurved Thorn-apple
Habit
Flower
Leaf
Fruit


Common Henbane      Hyoscyamus niger

Introduced as a garden ornamental. A scrambling perennial plant, widespread in all but the driest, sandy soils. A highly adaptable plant, found naturally in wetlands (especially species-poor reed stands) and on shingle beaches but also regularly as an arable and ditchside weed. Flowers June to September. Leaves variable, from simple to unevenly lobed at the base. Stems thin and tough, scrambling and sometimes twining through and over other vegetation.

Common Henbane Common Henbane Common Henbane Common Henbane
Habit
Flower
Flower
Leaf


White Henbane      Hyoscyamus albus

Introduced as a garden ornamental. A scrambling perennial plant, widespread in all but the driest, sandy soils. A highly adaptable plant, found naturally in wetlands (especially species-poor reed stands) and on shingle beaches but also regularly as an arable and ditchside weed. Flowers June to September. Leaves variable, from simple to unevenly lobed at the base. Stems thin and tough, scrambling and sometimes twining through and over other vegetation.

White Henbane White Henbane White Henbane White Henbane
Habit
Flowers
Flowers
Leaf


Sweet Tobacco      Nicotiana alata

Introduced as a garden ornamental. A scrambling perennial plant, widespread in all but the driest, sandy soils. A highly adaptable plant, found naturally in wetlands (especially species-poor reed stands) and on shingle beaches but also regularly as an arable and ditchside weed. Flowers June to September. Leaves variable, from simple to unevenly lobed at the base. Stems thin and tough, scrambling and sometimes twining through and over other vegetation.

Sweet Tobacco Sweet Tobacco Sweet Tobacco
Habit
Flowers
Leaf


Red Tobacco      Nicotiana forgetiana

Introduced as a garden ornamental. A scrambling perennial plant, widespread in all but the driest, sandy soils. A highly adaptable plant, found naturally in wetlands (especially species-poor reed stands) and on shingle beaches but also regularly as an arable and ditchside weed. Flowers June to September. Leaves variable, from simple to unevenly lobed at the base. Stems thin and tough, scrambling and sometimes twining through and over other vegetation.

Red Tobacco Red Tobacco
Habit
Flower


Woodland Tobacco      Nicotiana sylvestris

Introduced as a garden ornamental. A scrambling perennial plant, widespread in all but the driest, sandy soils. A highly adaptable plant, found naturally in wetlands (especially species-poor reed stands) and on shingle beaches but also regularly as an arable and ditchside weed. Flowers June to September. Leaves variable, from simple to unevenly lobed at the base. Stems thin and tough, scrambling and sometimes twining through and over other vegetation.

Woodland Tobacco Woodland Tobacco Woodland Tobacco Woodland Tobacco
Habit
Flower
Leaf
Leaf base