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The Endemic Plants of Chile

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Heliotropium myosotifolium (A. DC.) Reiche

  1. Classified in >
  2. genus: Heliotropium >
  3. Family: Heliotropiaceae

Place of Publication

Anales Univ. Chile 121: 243 (1907)

Type citation

Based on: Heliophytum stenophyllum (Hook. & Arn.) A. DC. var. myosotifolium A. DC. "Coquimbo", [barren and stony hills between Huasco and Copiapo], [Sept. 1841], T. Bridges 1338 (holotype: G-DC; isotypes: BM, Ε E00143664,G, GH, Κ, W).

Common names

  • palo negro

Conservation status

  • Least Concern (Luebert (2010))


  • Luebert (2013)


Erect shrub, 0.1–0.5 m tall. Flowering from September to October.

Key characteristics

It could be confused with H. chenopodiaceum which tends to have smaller leaves and flowers but in rainy seasons this may not be the case. The most consistent difference is the calyx lobes which are joined to half of their length in H. chenopodiaceum whereas they are totally free in H. myosotifolium.


Tarapacá and Atacama

Distribution and habitat

Inland mountains and Andean foothills of the provinces of Chañaral, Copiapó, Huasco (Región de Atacama), Elqui, Limari and Choapa (Región de Coquimbo). Rocky hillsides and sandy soils of the Andean Atacama Desert, 200–2250 metres above sea level (Luebert, 2013). Often found in open dwarf scrubs, where it can be dominant, especially in the northern portion of its distribution, together with Aphyllocladus denticulatus, Encelia canescens and Nolana leptophylla. In the southern part of its distribution, it is found growing with Cumulopuntia sphaerica, Fagonia chilensis and Flourensia therifera (Luebert, 2013).


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Seed of this species is banked by the national seed bank of Chile, INIA.


  • Reiche (1907c)

    Reiche, K.F. 1907. Estudios criticos sobre la flora de Chile. Anales de la Universidad de Chile 121:227-250, 803-835

  • Luebert (2013)

    Luebert, F. 2013. A revision of Heliotropium sect. Cochranea (Heliotropiaceae). Kew Bulletin 68(1): 1-54.