Heliotrope Plant Information

Heliotrope grows in the following 43 states:

Arizona, Colorado, District Of Columbia, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming, Oregon, West Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington

Heliotropium /hilitropim, -lio-/ is a genus of flowering plants in the borage family, Boraginaceae. There are 250 to 300 species in this genus, which are commonly known as heliotropes (sg. /hili.trop/[clarification needed]).

The name "heliotrope" derives from the old idea that the inflorescences of these plants turned their rows of flowers to the sun. (helios) is Greek for "sun", (trepein) means "to turn". The Middle English name "turnsole" has the same meaning.
Several heliotropes are popular garden plants, most notably garden heliotrope (H.arborescens). Some species are weeds and many are hepatotoxic if eaten in large quantities due to abundant pyrrolizidine alkaloids. There have been cases of canine death due to over-ingestion of this toxic plant. Some danainae butterflies, such as the queen, like to visit these plants, as pyrrolizidine alkaloids produce a pheromone to attract mates. Though it is not palatable and most animals will completely ignore it, there have been cases of horses, swine and cattle being poisoned due to contamination of hay.
Caterpillars of the grass jewel (Freyeria trochylus), a gossamer-winged butterfly, feed on H.strigosum.
The sap of heliotrope flowers, namely of European heliotrope (H.europaeum), was used as a food coloring in Middle Ages and Early Modern French cuisine.
One of the most famous ragtime piano melodies is "Heliotrope Bouquet", composed in 1907 by Louis Chauvin (the first two strains) and Scott Joplin (the last two strains).
Garden heliotrope is grown in Southern Europe as an ingredient for perfume.
The purplish facial rash of dermatomyositis is called "heliotrope rash" because it resembles E. arborescens.

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