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Medicinal, culinary and unusual botanicals from Australia and around the world

Nicotiana benthamiana – Native Tobacco (seed)

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Nicotiana benthamiana is a close relative of smoking tobacco and the many species of Nicotiana indigenous to Australia. The herbaceous plant is found amongst rocks on hills and cliffs throughout the northern regions of Australia. Variable in height and habit, the species may be erect and up to 1.5 metres or sprawling out no taller than 200 millimetres. The flowers are white. The plant was used by peoples of Australia as a stimulant – it contains nicotine and other alkaloids – before the introduction of commercial tobacco (N. tabacum and N. rustica). The indigenous names for it include Tjuntiwari and Muntju. (Taken from Wikipedia)

Nicotiana benthamiana is the most widely used experimental host in plant virology, due mainly to the large number of diverse plant viruses that can successfully infect it. Additionally, N. benthamiana is susceptible to a wide variety of other plant-pathogenic agents (such as bacteria, oomycetes, fungi, and so on), making this species a cornerstone of host-pathogen research, particularly in the context of innate immunity and defense signaling (Goodin et al. 2008. Nicotiana benthamiana: its history and future as a model for plant-pathogen interactions.)

Pleasant white scented flowers and soft, light green leaves. Annual to short lived perennial.

We stock several lines of Nicotiana benthamiana seeds for research, please choose your desired line (LAB, WA, QLD, NWA, RA4, KL5-2). Basically QLD, WA, NWA are Australian state accessions, whilst RA4 (Research Accession 4) and LAB are lines that have been used in laboratories for a number of years. KL5-2 is a type from Kalamina Gorge in Karijini National Park.

Link to Waterhouse Lab for info on Nicotiana benthamiana accessions and research.

Care and Cultivation of Nicotiana benthamiana

Nicotiana benthamiana does not require any special treatment to germinate. Simply sow like other tobacco seeds (sprinkle on the surface of a good quality sandy/well drained potting mix and water in gently. Germination will occur within 7-21 days. Keep moist until germination. Likes plenty of roots pace in a sandy/well drained position. Full sun. Drought tolerant. Does not do well under extreme humidity or waterlogged/cold and damp soils. Being adapted for fast growth and seeding, plants have a diminished immune system and any easily affected by disease.

Approximately 25-50 seeds per packet

Other options: 1000 seeds of variety LAB.

We are currently working on hybrids of N. benthamiana, enquire if interested for research.


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