Heliotropium brevifolium

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Heliotropium brevifolium


Perennial or annual, decumbent herb. Leaves sessile, linear, horizontally arranged left and right from the stems, 4-10 by 0.8-1 mm, tapering towards base, acute, with revolute margins, both sides with antrorse, appressed hairs. Inflorescence 0.5-3 cm long, spike-like, with 3-12 flowers; bracts similar to leaves, the lowermost excluded shorter than the calyx; pedicels 0.5-0.8 mm long. Stamens: anthers subsessile, included in the tube.


Asia-Tropical: India present, Luzon present, Nepal present
India, ?Nepal; Malesia: Philippines (Luzon).


The distribution is not yet clear, as H. brevifolium has not been recognized as a species separate from H. strigosum by many authors. It seems to be most common in the Philippines, where the greatest number of herbarium specimens comes from, but there are also collections from northern India. Whether there is really a gap between this area and the Philippines seems doubtful.

Already Johnston pointed out several differences between African and Asian collections of H. strigosum. Nevertheless, H. brevifolium seems to be different also from the Asian plants mentioned under this name, as, for instance, Johnston describes the ovary as glabrous. In the Malesian area, H. paniculatum R.Br, has often erroneously been identified as H. strigosum, but Johnston's plants are different from that either.

According to Clarke in Hooker f. (1885), H. brevifolium, which he assigns the rank of a variety, is more common throughout India than true H. strigosum. Further investigations based on material from all the south-eastern Asian countries are necessary to define species and their area of distribution more exactly.