Reseda (plant)

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Reseda
Reseda lutea1.jpg
Reseda lutea (Wild Mignonette)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Brassicales
Family: Resedaceae
Genus: Reseda
L.
Species

See text

Reseda (Mignonette) is a genus of fragrant herbaceous plants native to the Mediterranean region and southwest Asia, from the Canary Islands and Iberia east to northwest India. The species include annuals, biennials and perennials, and grow to 40–130 cm tall. The leaves form a basal rosette at ground level, and then spirally arranged up the stem; they can be entire, toothed or pinnate, and range from 1–15 cm long. The flowers are produced in a slender spike, each flower small (4–6 mm diameter), white, yellow, orange, or green, with four to six petals. The fruit is a small dry capsule containing several seeds.

Other common names include Weld (R. luteola), Dyer's Rocket, Bastard Rocket and Sweet Reseda.

Cultivation and uses[edit]

Propagation is by seed, which is surface-sown directly into the garden or grass verge. The plant does not take well to transplanting and should not be moved after sowing.

Mignonette flowers are extremely fragrant. It is grown for the sweet ambrosial scent of its flowers. It is used in flower arrangements, perfumes and potpourri. A Victorian favourite, it was commonly grown in pots and in window-boxes to scent the city air. It was used as a sedative and a treatment for bruises in Roman times. The volatile oil is used in perfumery. The yellow dye was obtained from the roots of R. luteola by the first millennium BC, and perhaps earlier than either woad or madder. Use of this dye came to an end at the beginning of the twentieth century, when cheaper synthetic yellow dyes came into use.[1]

Charles Darwin used R. odorata in his studies of self-fertilised plants, which he documented in The Effects of Cross and Self-Fertilisation in the Vegetable Kingdom.

Species[edit]

As of March 2014 The Plant List recognises 41 accepted species (including infraspecific names):[2]


References[edit]

  1. ^ Daniel Zohary and Maria Hopf, Domestication of plants in the Old World, third edition (Oxford: University Press, 2000), p. 209
  2. ^ "Reseda". The Plant List. Retrieved 31 March 2014. 

External links[edit]