Nicotiana

Nicotiana Nicotine is the compound responsible for the addictive nature of Tobacco use. Tobacco flower, leaves, and buds Main article: Nicotiana See also: List of tobacco diseases There are many species of tobacco in the genus of herbs Nicotiana. It is part of the nightshade family (Solanaceae) indigenous to North and South America, Australia, South West Africa and the South Pacific. Many plants contain nicotine, a powerful neurotoxin to insects. However, tobaccos contain a higher concentration of nicotine than most other plants. Unlike many other Solanaceae, they do not contain tropane alkaloids, which are often poisonous to humans and other animals. Despite containing enough nicotine and other compounds such as germacrene and anabasine and other piperidine alkaloids (varying between species) to deter most herbivores, a number of such animals have evolved the ability to feed on Nicotiana species without being harmed. Nonetheless, tobacco is unpalatable to many species, and accordingly some tobacco plants (chiefly tree tobacco, N. glauca) have become established as invasive weeds in some places. Nicotiana (pron.: /?n?ki?e?n?/) is a genus of herbaceous plants and shrubs of the family (Solanaceae) indigenous to the Americas, Australia, south west Africa and the South Pacific. Various Nicotiana species, commonly referred to as tobacco plants, are cultivated as ornamental garden plants. (N. tabacum) is grown worldwide for production of tobacco leaf for cigarettes and other tobacco products. Etymology The word nicotiana (as well as nicotine) as named in honor of Jean Nicot, French ambassador to Portugal, who in 1559 sent it as a medicine to the court of Catherine de' Medici. [edit]Cultivation Several species of Nicotiana are grown as ornamental plants. They are popular vespertines, their sweet-smelling flowers opening in the evening to be visited by hawkmoths and other pollinators. The hybrid cultivars Domino Series and 'Lime Green' have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. [edit]Ecology Tobacco mosaic virus (electron micrograph) Female Manduca sexta Further information: List of tobacco diseases Despite containing enough nicotine and/or other compounds such as germacrene and anabasine and other piperidine alkaloids (varying between species) to deter most herbivores, a number of such animals have evolved the ability to feed on Nicotiana species without being harmed. Nonetheless, tobacco is unpalatable to many species and therefore some tobacco plants (chiefly Tree Tobacco, N. glauca) have become established as invasive species in some places. In the nineteenth century, young tobacco plantings came under increasing attack from flea beetles (Epitrix cucumeris and/or Epitrix pubescens), causing destruction of half the United States tobacco crop in 1876. In the years afterward, many experiments were attempted and discussed to control the flea beetle. By 1880, it was discovered that replacing the branches with a frame covered by thin fabric would effectively protect plants from the beetle. This practice spread until it became ubiquitous in the 1890s.