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Heliotropium indicum L.

Heliotropium indicum L.





Vernacular Names

Malaysia Rumput ekur kuching, rumput kala jenkeng, rumput oleh (Peninsular)
English Indian heliotrope
Indonesia Buntut tikus (Malay), bandotan, gajahan (Javanese)
Philippines Trompa ngelephante, buntot-leon (Tagalog, Bikol), kambra-kambra (Bisaya)
Cambodia Promoi damrey, kantui damrey
Laos Nha nguong xang
Thailand Kuno kaa-mo (Peninsular), yaa nguang chaang (General), yaa nguang chaang noi (Northern)
Vietnam C[aa]y v[of]i voi
French Tournesol indien

Geographical Distributions

It is probably a native of tropical America, now widespread in all tropical regions of the world. H. indicum is a common weed throughout Malesia.


This is an annual herb, 15-60(-100) cm tall. The stem is hairy, simple or with a few branches.

The leaves are egg-shaped, (1.5-)2-10(-12) cm x 1-8(-9) cm. The base is truncated but narrowly long-extending downwards and united to the stalk. The apex is acute, with tuber-like of mineralised cells and bristly hairs. The stalk is 1-9 cm long.

The inflorescence consists of 1 to several spike-like indeterminate inflorescence(s), elongated to 5-20 cm long and without bracts. The sepal is with patent, bristly white hairs. The petal is salver-shaped. The tube is 3-4.5 mm long. The lobes are rounded, about 1 mm long, pale-violet, blue or white. The apex of fruit has two prominent teeth and distinctly divergent at pollination.

The fruit is 2-3 mm long, fruit halves 2-celled with cells 2-locular. The outer partition is with one seed while the inner one is larger and empty.

Ecology / Cultivation

H. indicum is found in sunny places, on waste land, in periodically desiccating pools and ditches and other anthropogenic habitats, in general up to 800 m altitude.

Line Drawing / Photograph


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   1) Safety


  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No 12(1): Medicinal and poisonous plants 1.

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