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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Aquatic and Wetland Vascular Plants of the Northern Great Plains

39. Boraginaceae, the Borage Family

1. Heliotropium L.

1. Heliotropium curassavicum L. -- Seaside heliotrope

Succulent, glabrous, taprooted annual or shortlived perennial 1-4 dm tall, decumbent to prostrate with spreading-ascending branches. Leaves alternate or an occasional pair subopposite, the blades oblanceolate to obovate, 2-6 cm long, 0.6-2(3) cm wide, obtuse to rounded at the tip, tapered to a subsessile to short-petioled base. Flowers closely spaced and secund on the 1-several branches of the scorpioid spikes or racemes, sessile or on pedicels to ca. 1 mm long; branches of the inflorescences usually less than 5 cm long but up to 10 cm long. Flowers showy, white or bluish with a yellow throat, 5-10 mm across, fornices lacking; calyx 2-4 mm long; corolla salverform, the spreading lobes about equaling or shorter than the tube; stigma as broad as the ovary, sessile or on a short terminal style. Fruit splitting into 4 nutlets at maturity, these 1.5-3 mm long, sometimes with corky ridges on the back. Jul--Sep. Saline or alkaline shores, flats and stream banks; occasional in ND, MT, SD, w NE and WY; (Intro. from tropical Amer., n to s Can.).

In the Black Hills, Myosotis scorpioides L., forget-me-not, is of frequent occurrence around springs and cold streams. The attractive blue flowers with yellow centers are of about the same dimensions as those of Heliotropium curassavicum, but the plant is nonsucculent, with sparsely strigose foliage, decumbent or creeping stems that root at lower nodes and more open scorpioid cymes. This plant is an escaped ornamental from Eurasia and has become widely established in other parts of North America.
GIF- Species Photo/Drawing

Heliotropium curassavicum, with enlarged flower.
GIF- Distribution Map

Map key

Return to Family -- Boraginaceae - The Borage Family
Next Section -- Plagiobothrys scouleri (H. & A.) I.M. Johnst.

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