A branching plant, about two feet high and across, with roughish stems and thin, smooth or slightly hairy, dark green leaves, toothless, or the margins more or less coarsely toothed. The flowers are white, tinged with lilac, with a purplish ring surrounding the yellow cone formed by the anthers. In southern California the flowers are nearly half an inch across, but smaller elsewhere. The berries are black. This is common throughout California near the coast. S5. nigrum, the common Nightshade, is a weed in almost all countries, common in waste places and in cultivated soil, and has small white flowers and black berries, about as large as peas and said to be poisonous.
There are many kinds of Nicotiana, or Tobacco, chiefly American; acrid, narcotic herbs or shrubs, usually sticky-hairy; leaves large, toothless; corolla funnel-form or salver-form, with a long tube and spreading border, plaited in the bud; stamens with threadlike filaments and broad anthers, not protruding; capsule smooth, containing numerous small seeds. The name is in honor of Nicot, diplomat and author of the first French dictionary, who sent some of these plants to Catherine de' Medici from Portugal in 1560.