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Heliotrope: Folklore, Propagation, Healing & Magickal Uses

Updated on:


Written by: Dawn Black (Witchipedia)


Reviewed by: Tina Caro

Heliotrope (Heliotropium spp) is the common name for many plants of the genus Heliotropium. The name heliotrope comes from the Greek meaning “The sun” and “To turn” because of the plant’s perceived habit of turning toward the sun.

Other names: turnsole, cherry pie plant


Heliotrope is a diverse plant species with various subspecies, each possessing unique characteristics.

Propagation of Heliotrope is typically done through seeds, cuttings, or division of established plants.

Heliotrope is valued in magical practices for its ability to enhance psychic abilities and promote love, positivity, and protection.

Beyond magic and healing, Heliotrope can be used in perfumes, potpourri, and various other aromatic products.

Some Heliotrope Species

Garden heliotrope Heliotropium arborenscans – is a shrubby plant that grows to about 3 feet tall and has a strong fragrance ranging from cherry to vanilla. Purple flowers in roundish clusters. This plant is native to Peru. (Note: Valerian is also occasionally called the garden heliotrope.)

European turnsole or Common heliotrope Heliotropium europaeum – is native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa but grows wild and is sometimes considered a weed all over North America and Australia as well.

It has spikes of many tiny white flowers with fuzzy sepals. The spikes look sort of caterpillar-like and curl up as they grow.

Most ancient European lore associated with Heliotrope probably refers to this species.

History and Folklore

According to Greek legend, the nymph Clytie was in love with the God Helios (or Apollo), but he did not return her affections (or left her for another woman).

Clytie pined away, spending all of her days gazing at the sun, not eating, resting and talking to anyone. Helios finally turned her into a flower and she continues to this day following his movements through the sky.

Protective PropertiesHeliotrope is believed to possess protective qualities and ward off negative energy or harm.
Healing EnergiesIt is associated with healing and is believed to promote physical and emotional well-being.
Symbol of DevotionHeliotrope is often considered a symbol of devotion and loyalty in relationships and friendships.
Connection to the SunThe name “heliotrope” derives from Greek words meaning “sun” and “turning,” symbolizing solar energy.
Historical SignificanceHeliotrope has been used throughout history for its purported mystical and magical properties.
Table 1: Folklore and Symbolism of Heliotrope


Garden heliotrope is a tender perennial that can be grown indoors as a potted plant or as an annual wherever there is frost as it will not survive the cold. It likes full sun to partial shade.

Common heliotrope is an annual that grows in a wide range of conditions. It readily reseeds and can easily take over a garden space. It is considered a noxious weed in some areas and it is toxic to livestock so it can cause some problems.

However, it is not as aggressive as some invasive species, as it does not compete well with other plants for resources. ((See the USDA’s risk assessment for this species at

Magical Attributes of Heliotrope

Heliotrope is associated with the Sun and the element Fire.

Heliotrope represents devotion, to lovers as well as to a God or a cause.

To dream of heliotrope means unrequited love. You can place heliotrope flowers under your pillow to encourage prophetic dreams related to finding lost things and people.

The essential oil can be used to anoint candles and other objects used in divination and in spells for wealth.

Magickal PurposeDescription
ProtectionHeliotrope is used in protective spells and rituals to ward off negative energy, evil spirits, or psychic attacks.
HealingIt is believed to possess healing energies and can be incorporated into rituals or potions for physical or emotional healing.
Love and RelationshipsHeliotrope is associated with love and devotion, making it suitable for love spells or enhancing romantic relationships.
Enhancing Psychic PowersSome practitioners believe heliotrope can enhance psychic abilities, intuition, and spiritual connection.
Ritual OfferingsHeliotrope flowers or leaves can be offered as a token of gratitude or as an offering in rituals or ceremonies.
Table 2: Some Magickal Uses of Heliotrope

Heliotrope can be burned for banishing.

If you gather heliotrope in August for use in magic, take care. It is said that your intention will be amplified and reflected back to you. So if you use it for good, great goodwill return to you, but if you use it for evil, evil will be returned to you in abundance.

Healing Attributes of Heliotrope

Garden heliotrope is used for perfumery. The scent is said to help fight fatigue.

Heliotrope may be used in homeopathy to cleanse the blood and lymphatic systems and to fight viral infections.

An infusion of garden heliotrope leaves can be used for a scratchy throat from overuse of the voice.

Long-term use of heliotrope is not advised as it can cause liver damage. The seeds are toxic.

Other Uses for Heliotrope

Garden Heliotrope is an excellent addition to butterfly gardens.

About Morningbird (Witchipedia's Founder)

I am a homesteading hearth witch who grew up along the shores of the Hudson River and has lived among the Great Lakes for the past 20 years. Together with my musical husband and youngest child, I steward a one-acre mini homestead with herb, vegetable and flower gardens, chickens, ducks, geese and rabbits, and areas reserved for native plants and wildlife. 

I have three children; two are grown, and I have been practicing magick alone and with family and friends for over 30 years.

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