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Common Name : Indian Heliotrope     -       Scientific Name : Heliotropium indicum       -       Other Name : Indian Turnsole, Scorpion Tail (E), Eth Honda, Eth Setiya, Dimi Biya (S)
Maradanmaduwa
04/30/2006
Maradanmaduwa
04/30/2006
Maradanmaduwa
11/10/2013

This species is found throughout the lowlands.  The plant is native to Asia but is now found in all tropical areas of the world.

The conservation status of this species is regarded as “Least Concerned” (National Red List 2012).

I have found this species to be very common in the lowlands particularly close to water bodies such as tanks bunds, along paths in to marshy lands and paddy lands. Even though no butterfly species is known to lay eggs on this species many species of Danidae butterflies (tigers & Crows) such as Blue Tiger, Dark Blue Tiger, Common Tiger, Plain Tiger and Common Indian Crow are attracted to both fresh and withered flowers of this species. It is common to see dozens of these butterflies clinging on to a single stem of a withered flower of this species. Research has revealed that these butterflies extract pyrrolizidine alkaloids from this plant, which they use as a basic material for own pheromone synthesis. These alkaloids are also found in the nectar of this species but the behavior of the butterflies indicates that the extraction of this compound must be easier from the withered Heliotropium tissue.

This is also a plant, which is widely used in Ayurveda and traditional native medicine to treat a wide range of ailments throughout the world including Arthritis, Rheumatism, Eye Diseases, Paralysis, Cancer, Skin Diseases, tumors and Venereal diseases.

In Wilpattu This species can be observed throughout the park close to water bodies.