Dwarf Heliotrope
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Dwarf Heliotrope
A Native Unknown Photo: Siddarth Machado
Common name: Dwarf Heliotrope, Prostrate Heliotrope, Spreading Heliotrope
Botanical name: Heliotropium supinum    Family: Boraginaceae (Forget-me-not family)
Synonyms: Piptoclaina supina

Dwarf Heliotrope is a prostrate branched annual herb. Branches are brown-woolly with dense prostrate hairs up to 1 mm long. Leaves are stalked, greyish white with dense hairs; leaf-stalk up to 15 mm long. Blade is 10-20 x 5-12 mm, ovate to obovate or elliptic, wedge-shaped to oblique, entire-wavy, blunt, nerves impressed on upper surface. Inflorescence are lateral and at branch-ends, 2-7 cm long. Flowers are arranged in a single row. Calyx is deciduous, 2.5 mm long, up to 5 mm in fruit, one fourth parted into blunt sepals, densely hairy. Flower tube is 3-4 mm long, retroresely hairy on the outside, hairless within, petals oblong, shallow, erect. Anthem about 1 mm long, narrowed towards the tip, attached about 1.5 mm from the flower base. Stigma is about 0.6 mm long, conical; stigmatic ring prominent. Ovary is hairless. Fruit is spherical, enclosed in the persistent calyx. Nutlets are about 2.5 mm long, ovoid in outline, hairless, back rugulose and minutely tubercied. Dwarf Heliotrope is found in S. Europe, N. Africa, Arabia, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, India. Flowering: December-January.
Medicinal uses: The pulped plant is mixed with water and applied to tumours.The pyrrolizidine alkaloids heliotrine and lasiocarpine have been isolated, and extracts have been tested as a control agent for Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, a chickpea disease, with limited success.

Identification credit: Siddarth Machado Photographed in Kadur Karnataka.

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