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Toxic parts

The seeds are poisonous[1].

Edible uses

There are no edible uses listed for Heliotropium arborescens.

Material uses

An essential oil obtained from the flowers is used in perfumery[2][3]. The plant is sometimes used as a low hedge, though it is not hardy enough in Britain for this purpose[4].

Unknown part

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The plant is used to make a febrifugal tea[5]. A homeopathic remedy is made from the whole fresh plant[6]. It is used in the treatment of clergyman's sore throat and uterine displacement[6].

Unknown part


Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - sow early spring in a greenhouse and only just cover the seed. Germination usually takes place within 2 - 25 days at 20°c. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out after the last expected frosts.

Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 7cm with a heel, July/August in a frame[7]. High percentage. Because the plant is not hardy the cuttings would have to be grown in a greenhouse for the winter before planting them out in the spring.

Cuttings of young shoots in the spring[8]. Because the plant is not hardy the cuttings would have to be grown in a greenhouse for the winter before planting them out in the spring.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Heliotropium arborescens. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Prefers a rich well-drained soil in full sun[5]. Plants grow best in a sandy loam[9].

Severely damaged by low temperatures[8], this plant is not hardy in Britain but it can be grown as a half-hardy annual, flowering in its first year from seed[8][5]. If grown as a shrub, it requires a minimum winter temperature of 5 - 7°c[5]. Plants stop growing when night-time temperatures fall below 5°c and are likely to be killed once the temperature falls below -2°c[9]. The plant turns its leaves and flowers so that it is always facing the sun during the day[6]. The flowers have a most unusual perfume, somewhat like cherries baked in a pie[4]. It is a good butterfly plant[10][11].

A parent of the cultivated ornamental garden heliotropes[8], there are many named varieties[5].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Heliotropium arborescens. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Heliotropium arborescens.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Heliotropium arborescens
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
  • Unknown part (Essential)
Medicinal uses
  • Unknown part (Febrifuge)
  • Unknown part (Homeopathy)
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
no shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    1 x 1 meters
    Flower Colour
    Flower Type


    1. ? Frohne. D. and Pf?nder. J. A Colour Atlas of Poisonous Plants. Wolfe ISBN 0723408394 (1984-00-00)
    2. ? 2.02.1 Schery. R. W. Plants for Man. ()
    3. ? 3.03.1 Hill. A. F. Economic Botany. The Maple Press (1952-00-00)
    4. ? Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World. Robert Hale. London. ISBN 0-7090-5440-8 (1994-00-00)
    5. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    6. ? Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
    7. ? Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers. MacMillan and Co (1948-00-00)
    8. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    9. ? 9.09.1 Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Conservatory and Indoor Plants Volumes 1 & 2 Pan Books, London. ISBN 0-330-37376-5 (1998-00-00)
    10. ? Baines. C. Making a Wildlife Garden. ()
    11. ? Carter D. Butterflies and Moths in Britain and Europe. Pan ISBN 0-330-26642-x (1982-00-00)