Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Scorpion Tail, Butterfly Heliotrope
Heliotropium angiospermum

Family: Boraginaceae
Genus: Heliotropium (hee-lee-oh-TROH-pee-um) (Info)
Species: angiospermum (an-jee-oh-SPER-mum) (Info)

6 members have or want this plant for trade.

View this plant in a garden


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Blooms all year


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Soil pH requirements:
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From softwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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By Floridian
Thumbnail #1 of Heliotropium angiospermum by Floridian

By Floridian
Thumbnail #2 of Heliotropium angiospermum by Floridian

By jnana
Thumbnail #3 of Heliotropium angiospermum by jnana

By Floridian
Thumbnail #4 of Heliotropium angiospermum by Floridian


4 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive butterflyjoe On Sep 29, 2013, butterflyjoe from Naranja, FL wrote:

I originally started one from a tip cutting in water (about 3") it rooted easily. Since then there is no shortage of them from self seeding. They even pop up in the lawn area, which I dont use weed killer ever, so I just transplant them. They do get legging after a couple of years and dont seem to rebound well from pruning, so I usually replace by then.

Positive jameso On Jun 27, 2011, jameso from Longview, TX wrote:

I'm in my second year with it although they didn't survive the 1st winter here in containers. I re-purchased for my second year and they will be in the ground. I saw many of the smaller butterflies on it. I'll always have this plant in my garden.

Positive BBOSSMAN On Mar 24, 2011, BBOSSMAN from Placida, FL wrote:

I had noticed a sulpher butterfly using it as a nectar plant, so
I transplanted this plant from another location close to my home in Southwest Florida. If careful not to disturb roots, it will transplant well. It was slow-growing until it was established, then in about 2 years became a spreading bush. Prune back to keep it from spralling. Leaves will turn black if exposed to temperatures in the 30's.

Positive artcons On Mar 28, 2005, artcons from Fort Lauderdale, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

I have only had this plant growing for six months. I have it planted on the east side of my Sable Palmento palm in the bed around the palm. It gets partial sun at best this time of the year and good water. It's doing just fine. I have Miami Blue butterflies in my yard and until this week have only seen them feed on Butterfly Needles/Shepherd's Needles (native weeds). Over the weekend I saw the Miami Blues feeding on this Scorpion tail.
The plant is a Florida native.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Cape Coral, Florida
Cocoa, Florida
Delray Beach, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Hollywood, Florida
Lutz, Florida
Miami, Florida (2 reports)
Naples, Florida
Palm Bay, Florida
Placida, Florida
Saint Petersburg, Florida
Sarasota, Florida
Harlingen, Texas
Longview, Texas

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