Wild Tobacco

Solanum mauritianum

Family: Solanaceae

Type of weed:

Flowering Months: , , , , , , , ,

Description

Wild Tobacco is a shrub that grows up to 4 m.

Leaves are lance-shaped; yellowish green above and paler grey underneath. Leaves are densely covered in felty hairs and have a distinctive smell.

Lavender-blue flowers have yellow stamen. Flowers are in compact clusters at the ends of branches in autumn to spring.

Small round fruit turns from green to yellow as it ripens. Wild Tobacco produces 150 to 200 seeds per plant.

The hairy leaves may cause skin irritation. Wild Tobacco is an irritant to asthmatics.

Don’t confuse with…

Wild tobacco can be confused with the native plant, Star Hair (Astrotricha spp).

Dispersal

Seeds are spread by birds and flying foxes and in dumped garden waste.

Impact on bushland

Wild Tobacco can out-compete native plants for nutrients and light. It invades disturbed areas and creeklines.

Distribution

. Mostly Lower Mountains and Cumberland Plain.

Alternative planting

Native plants

  • Christmas Bush (Ceratopetalum gummiferum)
  • Native Peach (Trema aspera)
  • Red Bottlebrush (Callistemon citrons)
  • Bleeding Heart (Omolanthus populifolius)

Council provides a tool, on its Mountain Landscapes website, to help you choose native alternative plantings. Choose your village, soil, vegetation community and the purpose of your planting, and the tool will give you suggestions.

There are native nurseries in several Blue Mountains villages, including Glenbrook, Lawson and Katoomba. Please also ask at your favourite local nursery.

Control

Seeds are spread by birds, so treat plants before they fruit. Remove any fruit and seeds and dispose of them. Hand pull seedlings. Cut and paint, or stem inject larger shrubs. Cut plant material can be spread out and left to dry off the ground.

For more info

For key points on these techniques: