Background: Nicotiana rustica (Aztec tobacco), like common tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum), is an allotetraploid formed through a recent hybridization event; however, it originated from completely different progenitor species. Here, we report the comparative genome analysis of wild type N. rustica (5 Gb; 2n = 4x = 48) with its three putative diploid progenitors (2.3–3 Gb; 2n = 2x =24), Nicotiana undulata, Nicotiana paniculata and Nicotiana knightiana. Results: In total, 41% of N. rustica genome originated from the paternal donor (N. undulata), while 59% originated from the maternal donor (N. paniculata/N. knightiana). Chloroplast genome and gene analyses indicated that N. knightiana is more closely related to N. rustica than N. paniculata. Gene clustering revealed 14,623 ortholog groups common to other Nicotiana species and 207 unique to N. rustica. Genome sequence analysis indicated that N. knightiana is more closely related to N. rustica than N. paniculata, and that the higher nicotine content of N. rustica leaves is the result of the progenitor genomes combination and of a more active transport of nicotine to the shoot. Conclusions: The availability of four new Nicotiana genome sequences provide insights into how speciation impacts plant metabolism, and in particular alkaloid transport and accumulation, and will contribute to better understanding the evolution of Nicotiana species.