Alyssum (Cruciferae)

The name derives from the Greek lfisa «anger», with a privative in reference to a possible property to cure anger and insanity. It is a genus originating from the Mediterranean basin, widespread throughout Europe and Asia, up to the mountains of Russia, precisely in arid and mountainous areas. Includes all-perennial species; once it was also attributed to annual species, now classified as Lobularia. The floriculturists continue to name the Lobularia maritima as Alyssum, cultivated more frequently due to its great adaptability. Alyssum includes many species and var. dwarfs, almost all with yellow flowers and greyish leaves, preferred for the rock garden, while the highest species are to be preferred for flowerbeds and borders.

Alyssum saxatile lends itself very well with its dense inflorescences to embellish rocks or walls.
Alyssum saxatile lends itself very well with its dense inflorescences to embellish rocks or walls.

Cultivated species of Alyssum:

A. alpine (7-8 cm), hairy appearance, blooms in June; A. argenteum (cm 45), suffrutescent, ie partially woody at the base, intense yellow flowers in dense corymbs, is spontaneous in Italy in stony places where it blooms from April to June; A. flexicaule (7-8 cm), covered, in spring, with fragrant yellow flowers; A. idaeum, creeping, with yellow flowers in May-June; Alyssum moellendorfianum (cm 15), with silvery leaves and flowers in long racemes; A. montanum (25 cm), widespread throughout the Mediterranean area, spontaneous in Italy in the arid and stony areas, has flowers in lassi racemes, slightly perfumed, bright yellow, leaves pelosette; Alyssum pyrenaicum (cm 8-10), bushy, dwarf, velvety white leaves and also white flowers in summer; A. saxatile (cm 30) has a tendency to spread, slightly hairy, very abundant flowers in yellow-gold inflorescence during the »April-May period, it is not spontaneous in Italy, but it is widely cultivated for its adaptability to different climates and soils; the var exists. lemon-yellow citrinum flowers; A. compactum (cm 15-20), for a long time in cultivation, with yellow-brownish flowers, in the Dudley Neville ‘cultivar; plenum, dwarf, double-flowered; A. variegatum, with yellow and green leaves; A. wulfenianum (10-15 cm), with a thin appearance, silvery-white leaves, light-yellow flowers in the inflorescences that bloom in summer.


the A. does not require difficult care: well drained and very sunny normal land. Alyssum saxatile, as well as for rock gardens, lends itself very well to embellish rocks or walls and is also suitable for pot culture; after flowering it is necessary to prune the plants to prevent them from spreading excessively. It is sown in late spring in seedbeds, in light soil and the seedlings are planted during the autumn or the following spring. New specimens can be obtained by dividing the adult plants after flowering, or by making cuttings at the beginning of summer and by placing them in a shady area. The latter system is generally used for variegated or double-flowered cultivars.

Also read: Althaea (Malvaceae)

For more information about  Alyssum (Cruciferae) for your garden design you can contact our Landscape architect team