The 1 1/2 - 2 3/4 in., 5-lobed trumpet-shaped white flowers have a hairy 5-cleft calyx with unequal teeth. Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, San Bernardino Co., CA. 3-23-08. © Joan Avise.

Indian Tobacco (Coyote Tobacco; Wallace's Tobacco)

Nicotiana quadrivalvis= bigelovii var. wallacei

An occasional 16 to 48 in. tall erect, hairy, sticky, annual on sandy washes in
alluvial scrub, mulefat scrub, and on dry slopes in openings within coastal sage
scrub at San Diego Creek, San Joaquin Hills, and mountain foothills.  Most common following fire (Roberts). Flowering: March - October. This species was widely cultivated by Native American people.  The Cahuilla Indian shamans used tobacco as an integral part of their rituals, and for many medicinal remedies. More on uses.

The Southern Diegueno Indians smoked the leaves of Nicotiana attenuata, for which there are no recent records from Orange County (Roberts). Cigarettes were made by rolling the dried leaves in the hands into a cylindrical shape and then stuffing them into a hollowed out elderberry tube.  Agave fibre was rammed into the opposite end for about one-half inch and acted as a filter.  This was thought to keep the flame from reaching and burning the mouth.

Back to Solanaceae of Orange County, California
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Back to Natural History of Orange County, California


James Dilley Preserve, Laguna Beach, CA. 6-13-09. © Joan Avise.

James Dilley Preserve, Laguna Beach, CA. 6-13-09. © Joan Avise.

James Dilley Preserve, Laguna Beach, CA. 6-13-09. © Joan Avise.

Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, San Bernardino Co., CA. 5-31-10. © Joan Avise.

The alternate leaves on short or no stems are narrow, pointed and very ill-smelling.  Leaves may be hairless or have hairs with glands at the base. Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, San Bernardino Co., CA. 3-23-08. © Joan Avise.

Crystal Cove State Park, Laguna Beach, CA. 3-21-09. © Joan Avise.

The 1 1/2 - 2 3/4 in., 5-lobed trumpet-shaped white flowers have unequal stamens, attached at various levels above the tube middle. Woods End Wilderness Preserve, Laguna Beach, Orange County, CA. 08-30-10. © Peter J. Bryant

Flowers have a hairy 5-cleft calyx with unequal teeth. Fruit a septicidal capsule (has septae). Woods End Wilderness Preserve, Laguna Beach, Orange County, CA. 08-30-10. © Peter J. Bryant

W of Portola Pkwy and El Toro Rd, Foothill Ranch, 8-27-13. © Ron Vanderhoff.

Aliso Creek, W Portola Pkwy., 8-22-13. © Ron Vanderhoff.

Aliso Creek, W Portola Pkwy., 8-22-13. © Ron Vanderhoff.

Aliso Creek, W Portola Pkwy., 8-22-13. © Ron Vanderhoff.

Aliso Creek, W Portola Pkwy., 8-22-13. © Ron Vanderhoff.

Aliso Creek, W Portola Pkwy., 8-22-13. © Ron Vanderhoff.

W of Portola Pkwy and El Toro Rd, Foothill Ranch, 8-27-13. © Ron Vanderhoff.


Adj. Morgan Trailhead, S. Main Divide Rd., 3-27-14. © Ron Vanderhoff.

Adj. Morgan Trailhead, S. Main Divide Rd., 3-27-14. © Ron Vanderhoff.

Adj. Morgan Trailhead, S. Main Divide Rd., 3-20-14. © Ron Vanderhoff.