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Sweet-scented Heliotrope Heliotropium convolvulaceum


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Sweet-scented Heliotrope
credit: Craig Freeman, Kansas Native Plant Society

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Alternate name: Showy Heliotrope, Wide-flower Heliotrope

Family: Boraginaceae, Borage view all from this family

Description A hairy, sparsely-leaved plant of variable appearance, with fragrant, white, broadly funnel-shaped flowers blooming in small coils along upper parts of stems.
Habit: native annual herb; with single erect, branched stem, or many long, sprawling branches.
Height: 4-16 in (100-400 mm)
Leaf: gray-green, fuzzy, lanceolate to ovate, short-stalked; to 1.5 in (4 cm) long.
Flower: white trumpet, tubular, pentagon-shaped, 5-parted, .6-1 in (15-25 mm) wide; with tiny yellow eye; flowers open in the evening.
Fruit: 4 silky nutlets, each 1/8 in (3 mm) long.

Flower March to October.

Habitat Sandy, dry locations: Dunes, deserts, arid grasslands, roadsides.

Range Southwestern U.S.: southeast California, north and east to southern Utah, Wyoming, and Nebraska, south to Arkansas and Texas, and into northern Mexico.

Discussion Also known as bindweed heliotrope, phlox heliotrope, fragrant heliotrope, wide-flower heliotrope. Two varieties are recognized. The fragrant flowers, largest of all heliotropes in the west, open in the cool hours of the evening. The ornamental Common Heliotrope (H. arborescens), comes from Peru.