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30 Apr 2018

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

15 Mar 2018

Aethionema (Cruciferae)

Name of dark etymology. The perennial plant perennial is used for the decoration of rock gardens, has a prostrate woody stem and flowers reminiscent of those of the Iberis.

Aethionema 'Warley Rose': a compact bush of small bright pink flowers (1). Aethionema iberideum is characterized by silver-colored leaves and white flowers tending to lilac (2).
Aethionema ‘Warley Rose’: a compact bush of small bright pink flowers (1).
Aethionema iberideum is characterized by silver-colored leaves and white flowers tending to lilac (2).

Cultivated species of Aethionema:

to the genus Aethionema they mainly belong to widespread species in the Eastern Mediterranean regions. In Italy, we find Aethionema saxatile in rocky and calcareous places, where it blooms from February to July and A. thomasianum which is an endemic plant of the Val di Cogne alone, cultivated in the Paradisia alpine garden, risen in 1955 in Valnontey at an altitude of 1700 to the Gran Paradiso National Park. A. armenum is still to be ascribed to this genus, a plant that does not exceed 15 cm in height and blooms from June to July; A. coridifolium, slightly larger than the previous one, with gray leaves with bluish reflections and pink flowers; the Warley Rose ‘cultivar forms a beautiful compact bush characterized by the bright pink color of small and numerous flowers; Aethionema grandiflorum reaches the maximum size, up to 30 cm, its flowers also vary in all shades of pink and are larger than normal; its posture is particularly erect and the flowering is prolonged throughout the summer; A. iberideum has white flowers tending to lilac, it blooms in late spring and has leaves that are more silvery, the poorer the soil on which the plant grows; A. pulchellum has gray leaves, pink flowers, summer bloom and is quite similar to A. coridifolium but smaller.


to grow and flourish, the Aethionema it only needs a full sun exposure and a poor, calcareous and stony soil that allows good drainage. It is multiplied by cuttings by rooting in a cold bed in July, then each individual seedling is placed in a pot and allowed to grow by transplanting it in residence in September or the following spring. Except for the Warley Rose ‘cultivar, multiplication by seed is also possible. It is sown in September and flowering plants are obtained in the following summer.

Also read: Aesculus (Hippocastanaceae); Ippocastano.