Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Western Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Heliotropium curassavicum L.
- Family: Borage (Boraginaceae)
- Flowering: May-October
- Field Marks: The white flowers of this heliotrope are borne on one side of a strongly
curved axis. The leaves and stems are smooth. The stems usually lie on the ground before
curving upward at their tips.
- Habitat: Usually in moist, salty areas.
- Habit: Perennial herb with creeping rootstocks.
- Stems: Sprawling along the ground before curving upward at their tips, up to 2 1/2 feet long, usually somewhat fleshy, smooth and often glaucous.
- Leaves: Alternate, simple, succulent, linear to oblanceolate to obovate, or the lowest ones reduced to scales, up to 2 1/2 inches long, up to 3/4 inch wide, rounded or somewhat
pointed at the tip, tapering to the base, sessile or on short stalks, smooth, glaucous, without
- Flowers: Several borne on one side of a strongly curved axis, without bracts.
- Sepals: 5, green, united below, up to 1/8 inch long, smooth.
- Petals: 5, united below to form a short tube, white, sometimes with a purple center, up to 1/8 inch long.
- Stamens: 5, attached to the tube of the petals.
- Pistils: Ovary superior, 4-parted, smooth.
- Fruits: Nutlets 4, ovoid, up to 1/8 inch long.
- Notes: There is much variation in this species, including some of the flowers occasionally having a purple center. There is also variation in leaf shape and leaf size. This species is native to the Old World tropics.
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