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Heliotropium curassavicum (Salt heliotrope)
Anderson, Wynn

Heliotropium curassavicum

Heliotropium curassavicum L.

Salt Heliotrope, Seaside Heliotrope, Quail Plant, Cola De Mico, Cola De Gama

Boraginaceae (Borage Family)


USDA Symbol: HECU3

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), HI (N), PR (N), VI (N), CAN (N)

A fleshy, bluish-green, smooth plant with leafy stems often lying on the ground, usually with paired coils of small, white or purplish-tinged flowers with yellow centers.

This plant is also found in Mexico and South America. In some parts of the West this species is called Quail Plant after the birds that feed on its fruit. The Spanish name, Cola de Mico, meaning "monkey tail," describes the coiled flower cluster.


From the Image Gallery

36 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Annual
Habit: Herb
Fruit Type: Schizocarp
Size Notes: Up to about 20 inches tall.
Leaf: Gray-green.
Flower: Flowers 1/4 inch.
Fruit: Nutlets.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Yellow
Bloom Time: Feb , Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov


USA: AL , AR , AZ , CA , CO , DE , FL , GA , HI , ID , IL , KS , LA , MD , ME , MO , MS , MT , NC , ND , NE , NJ , NM , NV , NY , OK , OR , PA , SC , SD , TX , UT , VA , WA , WY
Canada: AB , SK
Native Distribution: North America, Central America, and South America, from central Canada south through the US to Mexico and Central America and then south as far as Argentina
Native Habitat: Stream/river banks, Near lakes or ponds, Dunes

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: None
Soil Description: Sandy, Gravelly


Use Ornamental: Rock gardens, Rocky hillside, Desert landscape
Conspicuous Flowers: yes

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
National Butterfly Center - Mission, TX
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR


Bibref 765 - McMillen's Texas Gardening: Wildflowers (1998) Howard, D.
Bibref 328 - Wildflowers of Texas (2003) Ajilvsgi, Geyata.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Heliotropium curassavicum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Heliotropium curassavicum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Heliotropium curassavicum


Record Modified: 2023-02-13
Research By: TWC Staff

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