FoI
Ceylon Heliotrope   
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Ceylon Heliotrope
A Native Photo: Siddarth Machado
Common name: Ceylon Heliotrope
Botanical name: Heliotropium zeylanicum    Family: Boraginaceae (Forget-me-not family)
Synonyms: Heliotropium linifolium, Heliotropium subulatum

Ceylon Heliotrope is an erect annual herb 30-40 cm tall, branched or unbranched from the base, appressed hairy; branches ascending. Leaves are 25-50 x 3-5 mm, linear, sparse hairy on both surfaces. Hairs less than 1 mm long, usually with a bulbous base; lower surface lighter green. Flowers are borne in long inflorescences 2.5-4 cm long, at branch-ends and in leaf-axils, up to 12 cm in fruit, simple or branched, bearing uniseriate, stalkless to nearly stalkless flowers. Bracts 2-3 mm long linear, hairy. Calyx 1.5-2.5 mm long, 5-partite into lanceshaped lobes, appressed hairy on the outer surface. Flower are white, about 3.5 mm long, hairy, throat sparsely so, tube somewhat constricted at the throat; lobes blunt, nervose, margin somewhat wavy. Anthers 0.8 mm long, nearly stalkless, ovate, tip produced, attached about 0.7 mm above the flower tube. Stigma conical, 0.5 mm long, hairless, ± equalling. Style length. Stigmatic ring prominent. Fruit spherical, compressed, 4-lobed, upper 2/3rd hairy. Nutlets about 1.4 mm long, brown, faintly rugulose at the back. Ceylon Heliotrope is widespread in tropical Africa, Arabia, Pakistan and India.
Medicinal uses: The juice of the plant is applied to sore eyes. It is also used for boils, wounds and ulcers.

Identification credit: Navendu Pāgé Photographed in Anantapur District, Andhra Pradesh.

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