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Vascular Plants of California
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Heliotropium curassavicum var. oculatum

Higher Taxonomy
Family: HeliotropiaceaeView Description 
Habit: Annual or perennial herb [shrub, tree, woody vine], generally hairy, often bristly or strigose and/or glandular. Stem: prostrate to erect, branched. Leaf: simple, alternate, generally entire; stipules 0. Inflorescence: 1-many cymes, generally coiled, or flowers 1. Flower: generally bisexual, generally radial; calyx lobes 5, generally free to base; corolla lobes 5, fused, generally rotate or bell-shaped, appendages 0; stamens 5, epipetalous; ovary superior, subtended by disk-like nectary, chambers generally 4, style terminal, stigmatic head conical with basal ring-shaped stigma and sterile tip. Fruit: dry or fleshy, generally 4-seeded, sometimes separating into 1--4 nutlets.
Genera In Family: 4 genera, +- 450 species; worldwide distribution, especially in tropics and subtropics. Note: Included in Boraginaceae in TJM2 and some other treatments (Angiosperm Phylogeny Group IV 2016 Bot Linn Soc 181:1--20) but treated as separate family by Boraginales Working Group (Luebert et al. 2016).
eFlora Treatment Author: Michael G. Simpson
Genus: HeliotropiumView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual, perennial herb [shrub], glabrous to bristly or strigose. Stem: prostrate to erect, branched. Leaf: generally cauline, petioled to sessile, generally entire. Inflorescence: flower 1 in axils or many in terminal coiled spike-like cymes. Flower: corolla rotate to bell-shaped, white to purple; stamens attached on upper tube, included, anthers +- sessile; style 0 or not lobed, stigma 1, linear to disk-like. Fruit: nutlets 2 or 4, erect, generally ovoid to spheric, smooth, roughened, or hairy, scar generally lateral.
Etymology: (Greek: sun turning, from some species flowering at summer solstice)
eFlora Treatment Author: Ronald B. Kelley & Dieter H. Wilken
Unabridged Reference: Ewan 1942 Bull So Calif Acad Sci 41: 51--57
Heliotropium curassavicum L. var. oculatum (A. Heller) I.M. Johnst. ex Tidestr.
Habit: Perennial herb, fleshy, occasionally from rhizome-like root. Stem: prostrate to +- ascending, 1--6 dm, glabrous. Leaf: 1--6 cm, generally oblanceolate, short-petioled to subsessile, acute to obtuse, glabrous. Inflorescence: spike-like cymes 2--4. Flower: calyx lobes oblong to narrow-ovate, glabrous; corolla 3--5 mm, 3--5(7) mm diam, salverform to bell-shaped, white, throat generally blue-purple, upper tube +- yellow. Fruit: nutlets 4, smooth. Chromosomes: 2n=26, 28.
Ecology: Moist to dry, saline to alkaline soils, generally near water; Elevation: < 2250 m. Bioregional Distribution: CA (exc KR, NCoRH, c SNH); Distribution Outside California: southern Nevada, southwestern Utah, to western Texas, northern Mexico. Flowering Time: Feb--Oct
Synonyms: Heliotropium oculatum A. Heller; Heliotropium spathulatum subsp. oculatum (A. Heller) Ewan
Unabridged Note: Part of worldwide, highly polymorphic sp. complex with many ecological and/or geographical variants.
Jepson eFlora Author: Ronald B. Kelley & Dieter H. Wilken
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

Previous taxon: Heliotropium convolvulaceum var. californicum
Next taxon: Heliotropium europaeum

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Botanical illustration including Heliotropium curassavicum var. oculatum

botanical illustration including Heliotropium curassavicum var. oculatum

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Citation for this treatment: Ronald B. Kelley & Dieter H. Wilken 2012, Heliotropium curassavicum var. oculatum, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on April 19, 2024.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2024, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on April 19, 2024.

Heliotropium curassavicum  
var. oculatum
click for enlargement
©2019 Neal Kramer
Heliotropium curassavicum  
var. oculatum
click for enlargement
©2011 California Academy of Sciences
Heliotropium curassavicum  
var. oculatum
click for enlargement
©2019 Neal Kramer
Heliotropium curassavicum  
var. oculatum
click for enlargement
©2015 Keir Morse
Heliotropium curassavicum  
var. oculatum
click for enlargement
©2015 Keir Morse

More photos of Heliotropium curassavicum var. oculatum
in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Heliotropium curassavicum var. oculatum:
CA (exc KR, NCoRH, c SNH)
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map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).


Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).