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Products > Heliotropium amplexicaule
Heliotropium amplexicaule - Heliotrope

Note: This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.  

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Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Perennial
Family: Boraginaceae (Borages)
Origin: Argentina (South America)
Flower Color: Violet
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Synonyms: [Helitropium anchusaefolium]
Height: Prostrate
Width: 2-3 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 10-15 F
May be Poisonous  (More Info): Yes
Heliotropium amplexicaule (Clasping Heliotrope) - This low growing perennial grows to 2-3 feet wide and is clothed with hairy, toothed 2 inch long leaves that appear to clasp the stems. The violet flowers with yellow centers line one side of the forked and curled-back flower stems over a long period from spring into fall. Does best in sun or part shade with infrequent to occasional irrigation. Hardy to around 30 F as an evergreen perennial but will resprout from roots and can be grown in gardens in colder climates with claims it is root hardy to 20 F and useful in gardens in USDA zones 6 and 7. Pinch back occasionally through summer to promote rebloom and to keep more compact and watch for it to spread a bit from rhizomes. This plant has long been a favorite in our garden; it is attractive and incredibly tough, thriving on neglect. Great as a small scale ground cover or in a mixed perennial planting in the ground or containers and is very attractive to bees and butterflies. One unfortunate aspect about it is that it has become a weed in Southeast Australia where it has been determined to be toxic to livestock that feed on it but this plant has been well behaved in our garden and is not noted as a weed in the US. Clasping Heliotrope comes from tropical South America and was first described in 1794 by the Danish Botanist Martin Vahl. The name for the genus comes from the Greek words 'helio' meaning "the sun" and 'tropi' meaning "to turn" from the belief that the flowers turned towards and follow the direction of the sun. The species epithet is from the Latin word 'amplexus' meaning "to wind around" or "surround" and 'caulis' meaning "stem" referring to the sessile leaves that seem to clasp the stem. A selection, Heliotropium amplexicaule 'Azure Skies', in the Southern Living Plant Collection appears to be very similar if not the same as the species, which we have grown since getting it from horticulturalist Carol Bornstein in the early 1990's. We have listed in in our catalogs since 1995.  The information on this page is based on our research that has been conducted on this plant in our nursery library, from online sources, and from observations made of the crops growing in the nursery, plants in the nursery's garden and those in other gardens where we have observed it. We also have incorporated comments received from others and welcome getting feedback from those who may have additional information, particularly if this information includes cultural information that would aid others in growing Heliotropium amplexicaule.