from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of several plants of the genus Heliotropium, especially H. arborescens, native to Peru and having small, highly fragrant purplish flowers. Also called turnsole.
  • n. The garden heliotrope.
  • n. Any of various plants that turn toward the sun.
  • n. See bloodstone.
  • n. A moderate, light, or brilliant violet to moderate or deep reddish purple.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A plant that turns so that it faces the sun.
  • n. Particularly, a purple-flowered plant of the species Heliotropium arborescens.
  • n. A light purple or violet colour.
  • n. The fragrance of heliotrope flowers.
  • n. A bloodstone (a variety of quartz).
  • n. An instrument, employed in triangulation, that uses a mirror to reflect sunlight toward another, very distant, surveyor.
  • adj. Light purple or violet.
  • adj. Keeping one’s face turned toward the sun.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An instrument or machine for showing when the sun arrived at the tropics and equinoctial line.
  • n. A plant of the genus Heliotropium; -- called also turnsole and girasole. Heliotropium Peruvianum is the commonly cultivated species with fragrant flowers.
  • n. An instrument for making signals to an observer at a distance, by means of the sun's rays thrown from a mirror.
  • n. See Bloodstone (a).

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In astronomy, an instrument for showing when the sun arrives at the solstitial points.
  • n. A mirror arranged with a telescope and sights so as to flash a reflection of the sun to a great distance. The instrument is used in geodetic triangulation to mark a station. See heliograph, 1.
  • n. A plant of the genus Heliotropium, of the natural order Boraginaceæ.
  • n. The bluish-purple or pinkish-lilac color of some flowers of the heliotrope.
  • n. A mineral, a subspecies of quartz, of a deep-green color, peculiarly pleasant to the eye.
  • n. A direct coal-tar color of the disazo type, derived from dianisidine. It dyes unmordanted cotton reddish violet in an alkaline salt bath.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. green chalcedony with red spots that resemble blood


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English elitrope (from Old English eliotropus) and French héliotrope, both from Latin hēliotropium, from Greek hēliotropion : hēlio-, helio- + tropos, turn; see trope.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Ancient Greek ἡλιοτρόπιον, from ἥλιος ("sun") + τρέπω ("turn").


  • The small aromatic flower which we call heliotrope, with its violet hue and delightful perfume, more nearly answers the description.

    The Metamorphoses of Ovid Vol. I, Books I-VII

  • Deborah and I are very fond of it "-- here she sighed --" but for certain reasons -- reasons you would not understand -- we do not like to hear the word heliotrope mentioned.

    Scottish Ghost Stories

  • It was marked out by something called heliotrope cyanosis.

    American Chronicle

  • The purple-brown spots and smears, called heliotrope, on her eyelids.

    Cynical Dad

  • "I would create the smell of purity", he says, but instead of choosing predictable "pure" acquatic or ozonic notes, the perfumer opts for the ingredients that would evoke "the color white": "I would use powdery floral notes such as heliotrope, but it would also be spicy, and have iris, also violets and woods.

    Archive 2007-08-01

  • I saw a picture in a book last fall of someone in California who had grown a heliotrope plant for several years and pruned it as a standard.

    Can you smell that heliotrope? « Sugar Creek Gardens’ Blog

  • City, green giant heliotrope of hoop skirt, one helluva azimuth shadow, solar eclipse.

    Peter Graves Is A Mad, Mad March Blimp Captain

  • Local riverside walks have shown daisies growing, along with winter heliotrope often found near streams.

    Country diary: Yeo Valley, Somerset

  • He poured water into the ashes to make a slurry and emptied it into the soil of a dwarf heliotrope growing by the window.


  • “You know, the heliotrope has a very distinct meaning,” he said as I pushed open the door to leave.

    The Haunted


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  • Usage/historical note in comment on turnsole.

    January 8, 2017

  • and a picture

    October 15, 2008

  • In the eighteenth century, a common garden herb or shrub with small, clustered, purple flowers, widely cultivated for its fragrance.

    February 6, 2007