Heliotropium Bacciferum Descriptive Essay

Heliotropium[3] is a genus of flowering plants in the borage family, Boraginaceae. There are 250 to 300 species in this genus, which are commonly known as heliotropes (sg. /ˈhiːli.ətroʊp/[clarification needed]).


The name "heliotrope" derives from the old idea that the inflorescences of these plants turned their rows of flowers to the sun.[4] Ἥλιος (helios) is Greek for "sun", τρέπειν (trepein) means "to turn". The Middle English name "turnsole" has the same meaning.

Ecology and human use[edit]

Several heliotropes are popular garden plants, most notably garden heliotrope (H. arborescens). Some species are weeds, and many are hepatotoxic if eaten in large quantities due to abundant pyrrolizidine alkaloids. There have been cases of canine death due to over-ingestion of this toxic plant.[5] Some danaine butterflies, such as male queen butterflies, visit these plants, being attracted to their pyrrolizidine alkaloids[6] Though it is not palatable and most animals will completely ignore it, there have been cases of horses, swine and cattle being poisoned due to contamination of hay.[7]

Caterpillars of the grass jewel (Freyeria trochylus), a gossamer-winged butterfly, feed on H. strigosum.[citation needed]

The sap of heliotrope flowers, namely of European heliotrope (H. europaeum), was used as a food coloring in Middle Ages and Early ModernFrench cuisine.[citation needed]

One of the most famous ragtimepiano melodies is "Heliotrope Bouquet", composed in 1907 by Louis Chauvin (the first two strains) and Scott Joplin (the last two strains).

Garden heliotrope is grown in Southern Europe as an ingredient for perfume.[8]

The purplish facial rash of dermatomyositis is called "heliotrope rash" because it resembles E. arborescens.[9]

Selected species[edit]

  • Heliotropium amplexicauleVahl – clasping heliotrope, summer heliotrope, blue heliotrope
  • Heliotropium anderssonii
  • Heliotropium angiospermum
  • Heliotropium anomalumHook. & Arn. – Polynesian heliotrope, Pacific heliotrope (Pacific Islands)
    • Heliotropium anomalum var. argenteumhinahina kū kahakai (Hawaii)
  • Heliotropium arborescens – garden heliotrope, common heliotrope, cherry pie
  • Heliotropium argenteum
  • Heliotropium asperrimumR.Br.
  • Heliotropium balfourii
  • Heliotropium bracteatumR.Br.
  • Heliotropium conocarpumF.Muell. ex Benth.
  • Heliotropium crispatumF.Muell. ex Benth.
  • Heliotropium diversifoliumF.Muell. ex Benth.
  • Heliotropium chenopodiaceum(A.DC.) Clos.
  • Heliotropium clausseniiDC.
  • Heliotropium convolvulaceum – sweet-scented heliotrope, showy heliotrope
  • Heliotropium curassavicumL. – seaside heliotrope, salt heliotrope, monkey tail, quail plant, Chinese parsley; cola de mico (Spanish)
  • Heliotropium dentatum
  • Heliotropium derafontense
  • Heliotropium ellipticum
  • Heliotropium epacrideumF.Muell. ex Benth.
  • Heliotropium europaeumL. – European heliotrope, European turnsole (Europe, Asia, and North Africa)
  • Heliotropium fasciculatumR.Br.
  • Heliotropium flintiiF.Muell. ex A.S.Mitch.
  • Heliotropium foertherianumDiane & Hilger – tree heliotrope, velvet soldierbush, octopus bush (South Asia, East Asia, Melanesia, western Polynesia, northern Australia)
  • Heliotropium foliatumR.Br.
  • Heliotropium glabellumR.Br.
  • Heliotropium heteranthum(F.Muell.) Ewart & O.B.Davies
  • Heliotropium indicumL. – Indian turnsole
  • Heliotropium kuriense
  • Heliotropium laceolatumLoefg.
  • Heliotropium lineariifoliumPhil.
  • Heliotropium megalanthumnI.M.Johnst.
  • Heliotropium nigricans
  • Heliotropium paniculatumR.Br.
  • Heliotropium pannifolium – St. Helena heliotrope (Saint Helena) (extinct, c. 1820)
  • Heliotropium pauciflorumR.Br.
  • Heliotropium paulayanum
  • Heliotropium pleiopterumF.Muell.
  • Heliotropium procumbens
  • Heliotropium prostratumR.Br.
  • Heliotropium ramosissimum
  • Heliotropium riebeckii
  • Heliotropium shoabense
  • Heliotropium sinuatum(Miers) I.M.Johnst.
  • Heliotropium socotranum
  • Heliotropium stenophyllum
  • Heliotropium strigosumWilld.
  • Heliotropium tenellum
  • Heliotropium tenuifoliumR.Br.
  • Heliotropium ventricosumR.Br.
  • Heliotropium wagneri
  • Heliotropium aff. wagneri (Samhah, Yemen)

Formerly included here[edit]

See also[edit]


  • Everitt, J.H.; Lonard, R.L.; Little, C.R. (2007). Weeds in South Texas and Northern Mexico. Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press. ISBN 0-89672-614-2. 

External links[edit]


Lithospermumlignosum Schweinf. ex Vatke

Perennial, decumbent or procumbent with a woody base, short and stout up to 15 mm thick at base. Leaves lanceolate to linear-lanceolate, 5-55 x 2-16 mm, flat or t terete, hairy on both surfaces, margin revolute, longer hairs stiff, up to 2 mm long, arising from bulbous base. Inflorescence reduced, up to 20 mm long, bearing close set uniseriate flowers. Calyx persistent, 2-2.5 mm long, 5-partite into lanceolate lobes, hairy to the outside; hairs often stiff and arising from a bulbous base. Corolla white, c. 2.5-3 mm long; tube shortly cylindrical, hairy outside, glabrous within; lobes imbricate, 0.7-0.8 mm long, oblong to suborbicular, crenulate to t undulate. Anthers 1-1.2 mm long, elongate, broader at base, attached c. 1.1 mm from the corolla base, slightly furrowed and sometimes 2-fid at apex. Style shorter than stigma. Fruit globose, usually hairy when young; nutlets 4, brown, margin winged, back rugulose, sometimes with a membranous inflated back.

Fl. Per.: December-April.

Type: Arabia: Felix Lohaja, Forsskal (C).

Distribution: N. Africa, Arabia, Pakistan.

In the present work a broad view has been taken of A. bacciferum. The species is very variable in habit, leaf and fruit characters and in the past, several infraspecific taxa have been recognised (Kazmi, l.c. 161); The characters employed to separate the taxa are too relative and variable. For instance Kazmi (l.c.) distinguishes ssp. bacciferum from ssp. lignosum, in the nutlets being either broad or thin margined and their degree of separation at maturity; further Kazmi's recognition of 4 varieties is not satisfactory. The var. tuberculosum, although generally with narrower leaves, may in some cases exhibit leaves up to 10 mm broad (A. Rahman 25721; Sultanul Abedin 4251). From specimens seen of (Heliotropium tuberculosum), it appears that this taxon frequents coastal areas and is characterised by its short twisted stems and branches and small leaves. Insect galls are frequent on the branches. It is doubtful if the corky or membranous back of the nutlets (Jafri, 1966, p. 281) is of any taxonomic value. Hooker (l.c.) on the basis of this character described a new variety: Heliotropium undulatum var. suberosa. This corky nature occasion-ally occurs in M. crispum and to a varying degree in Heliotropium bacciferum (M. Salim 43). In the form of leaves and habit, as already pointed out by Kazmi (l.c. p. 164) the var. lignosum resembles var. tuberculosum and var. fartakense bears similarity; with var. bacciferum. In my view Heliotropium bacciferum has been too finely split into infraspecific forms. As already noted, intermediate forms occur which cannot with certaintly be ascribed to any particular taxon discussed above. The species is allied to Heliotropium crispum.


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