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Nicotiana attenuata
Nicotiana attenuata  (Coyote Tobacco)
Solanaceae (Nightshade Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Openings, woodlands. Summer, fall.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument above Yellow Jacket Canyon, October 15, 2006.

Nicotiana attenuata is an annual that can grow tall and compact or, as pictured, shrub-like to several feet tall and wide.  Leaves are long and narrow, as are the flowers.  As the photographs below indicate, the plant is hairy and somewhat glandular.  Just touching the plant releases the familiar Tobacco smell.

The Nicotiana genus was named by Linnaeus in 1753 for Jean Nicot (1530-1600), the French Ambassador to Portugal.  Although Tobacco had been known to Europeans from the time that Christopher Columbus brought the plant from the New World to Portugal and Spain (although some historians indicate that Columbus actually threw the dried leaves he had been presented into the Atlantic), it was most often grown only as an ornamental. 

In 1560 Jean Nicot brought powdered Tobacco to France from Portugal to be smoked by the Queen's son to cure him of his migraine headaches.  The migraines disappeared, Tobacco became a cure-all, and then increasingly became a socially acceptable pleasure.  Beginning in the late 1800s and continuing for over a century, research showed how deadly smoking truly is.

John Torrey named the N. attenuata species in 1871 from a specimen that he had shortly before collected in Nevada.

"Attenuata" is from the Latin for "thin or weak".

Nicotiana attenuata
Nicotiana attenuata(Coyote Tobacco)
Solanaceae (Nightshade Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Openings, woodlands. Summer, fall.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument above Yellow Jacket Canyon, October 15, 2006.

Nicotiana attenuata

Nicotiana attenuata

Nicotiana attenuata(Coyote Tobacco)
Solanaceae (Nightshade Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Openings, woodlands. Summer, fall.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument above Yellow Jacket Canyon, October 15, 2006.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Nicotiana attenuata