Friday, October 15, 2010

The Scorpion King

Back in the spring, we picked up a Scorpion's Tail (Heliotropium angiospermum) during a trip to All Native Garden Center in Fort Myers. This little plant has turned out to be one of the great successes of the butterfly garden this summer, growing to about 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide and flowering non-stop.

Scorpion's Tail is wonderfully drought-tolerant once established, and seems to tolerate all kinds of soil and light conditions. Ours is in the butterfly garden, which has eastern exposure, and it has flourished. It's a prolific self-seeder, so we expect to have lots of little Scorpion's Tails to spread around My Florida Backyard in years to come.

Scorpion's Tail has tiny little blooms that are perfect for tiny little butterflies, like the Dainty Sulphur and Ceraunus Blue. Up close the flowers are delicate and lovely, with creamy yellow centers.

An interesting note - in looking up this plant online, we found there are actually several plants that seem to be called by the common name "Scorpion's Tail". One is also a member of the Heliotrope genus, and has the scientific name Heliotropium amplexicaule. Another is usually called "Prickly Scorpion's Tail", is found in the Northeast U.S. It has the scientific name Scorpiurus muricatus, and belongs to completely different family (Fabacae). It just goes to show that taking the time to learn scientific names can be very beneficial to gardeners, especially those looking for native or unusual species.

1 comment:

  1. What a sweet little blooming plant. It is always neat to learn about plants you've never seen before.