This section is from the book "The Botanical Magazine; Or, Flower-Garden Displayed", by William Curtis. Also available from Amazon: The Botanical Magazine; or, Flower-Garden Displayed, Volume I.
Heliotropium Peruvianum. Peruvian Turnsole.
Corolla hypocrateriformis, 5-fida, interjectis dentibus: fauce clausa fornicibus.
HELIOTROPIUM peruvianum foliis lanceolato-ovatis, caule fruticoso, spicis numerosis aggregato-corymbosis. Linn. Syst. Vegetab. p. 184.
HELIOTROPIUM foliis ovato-lanceolatis, spicis plurimis; confertis, caule fruticoso. Mill. Dict. ed. 6. 4to. Icon. t. 143.
This plant recommends itself by its fragrance rather than its beauty, so delicious indeed is the odour it diffuses, that it is considered as essential to every green-house and stove.
"It grows naturally in Peru, from whence the seeds were sent by the younger Jussieu to the royal garden at Paris, where the plants produced flowers and seeds; and from the curious garden of the Duke d'Ayen, at St. Germain's, I was supplied with some of the seeds, which have succeeded, in the Chelsea garden, where the plants have flowered and perfected their seeds for some years." Miller's Gard. Dict.
You may consider it either as a stove or a green-house plant, the former is more congenial to it in the winter season.
A pure atmosphere is essential to its existence, as I experienced at Lambeth-Marsh, where I in vain endeavoured to cultivate it.
It is propagated by cuttings as easily as any Geranium, and requires a similar treatment; in hot weather it must be well supplied with water, and in winter carefully guarded against frost, so fatal to most of the natives of Peru.