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Alyssum montanum
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Brassicales
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Alyssum

Alyssum is a genus of over a hundred species of flowering plants in the family Brassicaceae, native to Europe, Asia, and northern Africa, with the highest species diversity in the Mediterranean region. The genus comprises annual and perennial herbaceous plants or (rarely) small shrubs, growing to 10–100 cm tall, with oblong-oval leaves. Alyssum flowers are characteristically small and grouped in terminal clusters;[1] they are often yellow or white colored but can be pink or purple.

The genera Lobularia, Aurinia and Odontarrhena are closely related to Alyssum and were formerly included in it. The widely cultivated species popularly known as "sweet alyssum" (Alyssum maritimum) is Lobularia maritima. The common rockery plant (Alyssum saxatile) is Aurinia saxatilis.

Alyssum foliage is used as food by the caterpillars of certain Lepidoptera, including the Gem (Orthonama obstipata). However, rabbits will not eat it.[2]



The following is a list of accepted species. Unless noted otherwise, it follows AlyBase.[3] An asterisk indicates provisionally accepted names.

Formerly included[edit]

The following names are listed by World Flora Online as accepted (as of the end of 2021),[4] but in AlyBase[3] have either been assigned to different genera (typically based on molecular phylogeny studies) or have been reduced to synonymy. A question mark indicates doubtful synonyms or species names with unresolved taxonomic status.


  1. ^ "Alyssum". The Macmillan Encyclopedia.
  2. ^ "Home". Garden Guides.
  3. ^ a b Španiel, S.; Kempa, M.; Salmerón-Sánchez, E.; Fuertes-Aguilar, J.; Francisco Mota, J.; Al-Shehbaz, I.A.; German, D.A.; Olšavská, K.; Šingliarová, B.; Zozomová-Lihová, J.; Marhold, K. "AlyBase – database of names, chromosome numbers, and ploidy levels of Alysseae (Brassicaceae)". Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  4. ^ "Alyssum L." World Flora Online. Retrieved 27 December 2021.