Seeds of South Australia
Heliotropium curassavicum (Boraginaceae)
Smooth Heliotrope
List of species for Heliotropium
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Seed collecting:
March to August
Herbarium regions:
North Western, Lake Eyre, Flinders Ranges
NRM regions:
Alinytjara Wilurara, South Australian Arid Lands
AVH map:
Australian distribution map (external link)
SA Census:
Census of South Australian plants (external link)     [genus Heliotropium]
Name derivation:
Heliotropium from the Greek 'helios' meaning sun and 'tropos' meaning turn; probably alluding to an early belief that the flowers turned to face the sun. Curassavicum mean of or from Curacao, Leeward Islands, West Indies; presumably where the type specimen was collected.
Found across the eastern half of South Australia, growing in saline soils. Also found in all mainland states.
Non-native. Introduced in South Australia. Introduced in the other states.
Plant description:
Annual or perennial herb, prostrate, smooth, succulent-looking and glaucous. Leaves narrowly obovate to narrowly elliptic, to 40 mm long and 10 mm wide, shortly petiolate, the apex obtuse, the margin not revolute or undulate. Inflorescence terminal spikey clusters with white to pinkish with the throat yellow flowers. Flowering between November and April.
Fruit type:
Brown capsules with 4 segments at open at maturity.
Seed type:
Brown sectoroid seed to 2 mm long and 1 mm wide, smooth surface.
Embryo type:
Spatulate fully developed.
Seed collecting:
Collect mature capsule, those that are drying off, turning brown and contain dark, hard seeds inside. Can collect individual fruit cluster or break off whole heads.
Seed cleaning:
Place the capsules in a tray and leave to dry for one to two weeks. Then rub the fruits gently by hand to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieve to separate the unwanted material. Store the seeds with a desiccant such as dried silica beads or dry rice, in an air tight container in a cool and dry place.