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Heliotropium angiospermum

  • Common Name: Scorpion-tail (other common names: Butterfly Heliotrope)
  • Scientific Name: Heliotropium angiospermum
  • Family Name: Boraginaceae
  • Origin: Florida native
  • Height: 1’ – 3’
  • Width: 3’ – 4’
  • Growth: fast
  • Zone: 8A – 11
  • Light Needs: Full sun to Partial shade
  • Salt Tolerance:  moderately
  • Soil/PH/Texture: prefers sandy or rocky soils, alkaline (pH 7.9 – 8.5)
  • Soil Moisture: medium and regular watering to dry
  • Drought Tolerance: high
  • Pests/Diseases: no serious pests or diseases
  • Growing Conditions: easy to grow and low maintenance, can become a little weedy looking
  • Characteristics: The showy flowers appear on a curved terminal spike and are white, under 1”, look like a lobster’s tail, and bloom year-round. The fruit are clusters of 4 inconspicuous tiny nutlets.
  • Propagation: by seed and softwood cuttings, (self-sows freely – deadhead if you do not want it spreading by seeds)
  • Wildlife: attractive to bees, butterflies, and birds
  • Facts: In the Bahamas an Virgin Islands this plant is sometimes referred to by the names Bright-Eye Bush or Eye-bright because the Scorpions-tail leaves were dried to a powder and used for different medical uses such as; skin problems, burns, sores and even in Cuba, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic it has been used in a decoction of the leaves for cleaning a baby’s skin at birth. Take caution though because there have been deaths associated with overdosing on the decoction as well. The leaves have a emmenagogue action so when orally taken it stimulates menstruation and causes abortion in pregnancies.
  • Designer Considerations: use as a groundcover or small shrub, and great in a wildflower, butterfly, or native garden.