A lovely, sweetly perfumed, summer flowering shrub coming into bloom in early May here in the garden at Cortijo Azahar. Known to the Americans as Cherry-Pie.
A native of Peru, belonging to the family Boraginaceae, this sprawling shrub can reach a height of 4 feet or more and grow just as wide here in the south of Spain.
It, very cleverly, has a tendency to turn its flowers and leaves toward the sun over the course of each day and at night, it readjusts itself to face eastward to be ready for sunrise.
That tendency is at the root of the name heliotrope. It means to move with the sun.
The colour, Heliotrope, is a pink-purple tint that is a representation of heliotrope flower.
The first recorded use of Heliotrope as a colour name in English, was in 1882.
Pinching out the tips of the new shoots early in the year encourages the shrub to bush out and increases the flower heads and, consequently, the fragrance.
In James Joyce's Finnegans Wake, "heliotrope" is the answer to the Maggies' riddle in the game of Colours (or Angels and Devils) played by the children in Part II, Chapter 1. Throughout the chapter, the word "heliotrope" is disguised a number of times, hidden either in anagrams, riddles, puns, or obscure allusions.
In P. G. Wodehouse’s ‘Thank You Jeeves’ Pauline Stoker escapes from her father's yacht and ends up in Bertie Wooster's heliotrope pajamas.
In Sarah Mlynowski's "Parties & Potions", the Samsortas wear a gown that is heliotrope in color, as the color has "magical properties that enhance natural beauty".
The periorbital purplish discoloration occurring in dermatomyositis is called the "Heliotrope rash" after the color.
Heliotrope is among the handful of "half-mourning" colors worn by Victorians during the last stage of mourning.
Heliotrope was a popular color reference of Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, script writers of Hancock's Half Hour.
In Harry Potter book 7, heliotrope is used to describe Mafalda Hopkirk's polyjuice potion.
Scott Joplin wrote a song called Heliotrope Bouquet.