by Stephen Mifsud
   3 Mar 2024      ()
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Heliotropium europaeum   (Common Heliotrope)

Heliotropium europaeum  (BORAGINACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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General Information Species Images
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Detailed species profile
Boraginaceae Index Plant Family Index
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Profile Date Aug-2003 (taxon update: Aug-2003)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Heliotropium europaeum - datasheet created on Aug-2003. Retrieved from on 03-Mar-2024

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Heliotropium europaeumL.
Published in Sp. Pl. 130 (1753)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Heliotropium majus Garsault
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Boraginaceae Juss. (The Borage Family)
16 species from the Boraginaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Common Heliotrope, Potato weed, European Heliotrope

Maltese name(s) :

Vanilja bajda

Status for Malta :

Indigenous. Present on the Maltese islands before man

Frequency :

Very Common     Common    Frequent    Scarce     Rare    Very rare    Extinct

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: THEROPHYTE ( annual plants, herbaceous )
Germination [info]: Dicotyledon

Legal Protection :

Not legally protected till the last update of this website (2/Mar/2022)

Red List (1989) :

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :

June – September

Colour of Flowers:



Mildy toxic, can cause adverse conditions if consumed in large quantities

Name Derivation :

Heliotropium: Helios- meaning the sun and -tropium meaning turning towards, with reference to the characteristic of many plants facing quickly towards the sun. (Greek origin )
europaeum: originating from or related to the continent of Europe. (Latin origin )

Planting in rural areas :

Can be planted in rural areas according to ERA Guidelines

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Cultivated areas or abandoned fields
Preferred habitat in Malta: Uncropped fields, waste ground near arable land and sometimes waysides.
Botanical Description: Flowers scentless. Sepals 0.4-0.8 mm wide, linear-oblong or narrowly triangular, irregularly patent-pubescent, usually patent soon after anthesis. Corolla 2-4.2 mm. Anthers 0.7-1 mm. Stigma linear-subulate, usually glabrous. Fruit glabrous or pubescent, usually rugose.
Distributional range: S., C. & W. Europe occasionally casual further north and east.

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
Albania, Austria and Liechtenstein, the Azores, the Balaeric Islands, Bulgaria, Corse, Crete, Czeck Republic and Slovakia, France (incl. Monaco and Channel Islands but excluding Corse), Germany, Greece, Switzerland, Spain (incl. Andorra but excl. the Balaerics), Hungary, Italy (excl. Sicily and Sardignia), ex-Jugoslavia, Portugal, Romania, Russia and former USSR, Sardinia, Sicily and/or Malta, Turkey (European part)
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
AE Ag Al Ar Au(A) Az(F G J P T) Bl(I M N) Bu Ca(C F L P T) Co Cr Cs Ct Cy Eg Ga Ge Gg Gr He Hs(S) Hu Ir It Li -LS Lu Ma Md(D M P) Mo Rm Sa Si(M S) Sk Sl Sn Sr Tn Tu(A E) Uk(K)

Links & Further literature (0 papers)

Google Web

Google Images

Google Scholar

Research Gate




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



World Flora Online

Plants of the World Online

Vienna Virt. Herb.

RBGE Herbarium

KEW Herbarium




Kindly Email if there are papers and publications about local studies or information about this species to be included in the list above.

Species Images (35 images)
   Heliotropium europaeum   -   Image Code: HLTEU-0.
   Heliotropium europaeum   -   Image Code: HLTEU-1.
   Heliotropium europaeum   -   Image Code: HLTEU-2.
   Heliotropium europaeum   -   Image Code: HLTEU-3.
   Heliotropium europaeum   -   Image Code: HLTEU-4.
   Heliotropium europaeum   -   Image Code: HLTEU-5.
   Heliotropium europaeum   -   Image Code: HLTEU-6.
   Heliotropium europaeum   -   Image Code: HLTEU-7.
   Heliotropium europaeum   -   Image Code: HLTEU-8.
   Heliotropium europaeum   -   Image Code: HLTEU-9.
   Heliotropium europaeum   -   Image Code: HLTEU-10.
   Heliotropium europaeum   -   Image Code: HLTEU-11.
   Heliotropium europaeum   -   Image Code: HLTEU-12.
   Heliotropium europaeum   -   Image Code: HLTEU-13.
   Heliotropium europaeum   -   Image Code: HLTEU-14.
   Heliotropium europaeum   -   Image Code: HLTEU-15.
   Heliotropium europaeum   -   Image Code: HLTEU-16.
   Heliotropium europaeum   -   Image Code: HLTEU-17.
   Heliotropium europaeum   -   Image Code: HLTEU-18.
   Heliotropium europaeum   -   Image Code: HLTEU-19.
   Heliotropium europaeum   -   Image Code: HLTEU-20.
   Heliotropium europaeum   -   Image Code: HLTEU-21.
   Heliotropium europaeum   -   Image Code: HLTEU-22.
   Heliotropium europaeum   -   Image Code: HLTEU-23.
   Heliotropium europaeum   -   Image Code: HLTEU-24.
   Heliotropium europaeum   -   Image Code: HLTEU-25.
   Heliotropium europaeum   -   Image Code: HLTEU-26.
   Heliotropium europaeum   -   Image Code: HLTEU-27.
   Heliotropium europaeum   -   Image Code: HLTEU-28.
   Heliotropium europaeum   -   Image Code: HLTEU-29.
   Heliotropium europaeum   -   Image Code: HLTEU-30.
   Heliotropium europaeum   -   Image Code: HLTEU-31.
   Heliotropium europaeum   -   Image Code: HLTEU-32.
   Heliotropium europaeum   -   Image Code: HLTEU-33.
   Heliotropium europaeum   -   Image Code: HLTEU-34.

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Section A:  Additional Information about this plant species
Own observations: Info from published material (books, journals, website):
Reference of published material:
Section B:   Where have you seen this plant on the Maltese Islands?
Locations in Malta or Gozo where you have seen this plant. Only applies for rare plants.

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Try to be as concise as possible. Examples: Dingli Cliffs (near chapel), Wied Incita (Zebbug side), Triq il-Kbira (Qormi), Barriera ta' Ghajn Abdul (Xlendi), Fields East of Salib tal-gholja (Siggiewi). GPS co-ordinates are also welcomed!
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