The influences of different plants on herbivores have recently attracted research interest; however, little is known regarding the effects of wild, local and cultivated varieties of the same plant from the same origin on herbivores. This study aimed to examine the effects of different tobacco varieties from the same origin on the oviposition preference and offspring performance of Spodoptera litura. We selected two wild (‘Bishan wild tobacco’ and ‘Badan wild tobacco’), two local (‘Liangqiao sun-cured tobacco’ and ‘Shuangguan sun-cured tobacco’) and two cultivated (‘Xiangyan No. 5’ and ‘Cunsanpi’) tobacco varieties from Hunan Province, China. We found that female S. litura varied in oviposition preferences across the tobacco varieties. They preferred to lay eggs on the cultivated varieties, followed by the local varieties, with the wild varieties being the least preferred. Furthermore, different tobacco varieties significantly influenced the life history parameters of S. litura. Survival rate, pupal weight, emergence rate and adult dry weight decreased in the following order: cultivated varieties > local varieties > wild varieties. Conversely, the pupal stage and development period decreased in the following order: wild varieties > local varieties > cultivated varieties. Therefore, we conclude that wild tobacco varieties have higher resistance to S. litura than cultivated and local varieties, reflecting the evolutionary advantages of wild tobacco varieties.