Erysimum cheiri (L.) Crantz

Fully hardy evergreen perennial, usually grown as a biennial, with open, sweet-scented bright orange-yellow to reddy-brown flowers in late winter to spring.  To 80cm.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Horticultural & Botanical History

A very useful bedding plant, numerous garden cultivars exist.  Johnson’s Dictionary lists 14 varieties and Don 11.  According to Don ‘the most remarkable varieties of the common wall-flower are the following: flore simplici, single yellow; flore pleno, double yellow; maximus, large-flowered yellow; serratus, large yellow, saw-leaved; patulous, double yellow, spreading; ferruginous, double rusty; varius, double variegated with purple and yellow; thyrisoides, bunch-flowered, yellow; gynantherus, flowers with anthers changed carpels; haemanthus, single and double bloody-flowered.’  Paxton’s Dictionary, in addition to the above, describes flavescens, yellow; grandiflora, yellow; haemanthus variegatus; purpureus; variegatus, purple; sanguineus, dark brown; and varius, variegated.  The Botanical Register shows a form, ‘Chamelion flowered’, with deep purple buds, opening yellow and fading to almost white.  [BR f.219/1817].  All of these forms are easily recognised today.  In England this ancient garden plant had a number of uses. It was an important source of honey and bee gardens were often planted close to the hives, with wallflowers a useful early season source of nectar.  It also had an important medicinal role, used for treating strained muscles in particular, the seeds being used as a heart tonic. Don also reports an unusual use: ‘Being an acrid and hardy evergreen, it is sometimes sown in pastures along with parsley, thyme, etc. as a preventative of the rot in sheep.’  Introduced to Britain in 1573.  [JD].  Blackwell pl.179/1737.

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [H.55/1843].


Published Feb 06, 2009 - 05:25 PM | Last updated Jul 15, 2010 - 04:42 PM

Illustrated is a shoot with long, tapering leaves and single yellow flowers.  Blackwell pl.179, 1737.

Erysimum cheiri (L.) Crantz | Blackwell pl.179/1737 | BHL

More details about Erysimum cheiri (L.) Crantz
Family Brassicaceae
Region of origin

Southern Europe

  • Cheiranthus cheiri L.
Common Name

Wallflower, Gilliflower, Gilli, Bee flower

Name in the Camden Park Record

Cheiranthus cheiri 

Confidence level high