Sunday, August 3, 2008

Heliotropium arborescens: flowers

[Photo: Heliotropium arborescens.]Heliotropium arborescens, known in English as garden heliotrope or cherry pie and in French as héliotrope du Pérou or herbe de St Fiacre, is a tender perennial native to Peru, bearing clusters of small, dark purple flowers with a strong vanilla-like fragrance.

Here in Toronto, heliotrope is usually treated like an annual although it can also be grown as a houseplant. I bought a couple of small plants in the spring; they did not grow very much in the short Toronto summer, staying under 30 cm rather than the range of 60-150 cm often reported. It is just as well that they stay small since then they can be at the front of the border where their fragrance can be enjoyed best!

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