Donaldson, S. and Hanson Mazet, W. 2013, A Northern Nevada Homeowner’s Guide to Identifying and Managing Coyote Tobacco, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, FS-13-14

Other common names

None listed

Scientific name

Nicotiana attenuata




Coyote tobacco grows from a low cluster of leaves. It can grow tall and upright, or in a branched, shrubby form. The entire plant is sticky and often looks dirty. This native plant is considered a sensitive species in Washington State. Native Americans reported used the plant for medicinal purposes, as well as ceremonial smoking. The plant gives off an unpleasant tobacco scent when touched.

Coyote tobacco growth

Typical plant growing in disturbed site. Photo by W. Hanson Mazet.


Lower leaves are more or less spear-shaped and have smooth edges and pale midribs. The leaf stem and midrib on the underside have short, bristly hairs. Upper leaves are narrow and smaller, with similar bristles. All leaves are hairy and have glands that look like tiny white dots.


Erect, bright green, glossy, hairy and sticky.

Coyote Tobacco stems

The stems have small, stiff hairs. Photo by W. Hanson Mazet.


White to slightly pinkish trumpet-shaped or tubular flowers occur in clusters at the ends of the stems and along the stem where leaves meet the stem.

Coyote tobacco flowers


Grows a taproot.

Native to

North America

Where it grows

Disturbed sites, dry rocky washes, well-drained slopes and other dry sites

Life cycle

Annual (sprouts, flowers and dies in a single year)


Reproduces by seed

Coyote tobacco seedlings

Seedlings leaves are hairy and often appear dirty. Photo by S. Donaldson.

Control methods

Little information is available about the control of coyote tobacco. As for all annuals, control relies on preventing production of seed. Once produced, seed remains viable for decades. Plants continue to sprout during the summer months.


Dig, hoe or pull small patches. Mowing alone does not provide control.


Encourage thick, competitive vegetation. Avoid disturbing the soil.


No information is available.


Apply broadleaf-selective herbicides such as 2,4-D on young plants. Glyphosate may also be effective but is non-selective and can kill or damage other plants, including lawn grasses.


Calflora Taxon Report 5857, Nicotiana attenuata Torrey, Calflora.

DiTomaso, J.M. and E.A. Healy. 2007. Weeds of California and Other Western States. University of California Publication 3488.

UC Berkeley Jepson Manual. 2012. Nicotiana attenuata Torr., UC/JEPS.

USDA Plants profile, Nicotiana attenuata Torr., USDA.

Washington Dept. of Natural Resources. 1999. Nicotiana attenuata Torr.

Learn more about the author(s)


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