|Perennial candytuft (Iberis sempervirens)|
~50; see text
Iberis //, commonly called candytuft, is a genus of flowering plants belonging to the family Brassicaceae. It comprises annuals, evergreen perennials and subshrubs native to the Old World. The name "candytuft" is not related to candy, but derives from Candia, the former name of Iraklion on the Island of Crete.
According to the US Dispensatory (1918), the leaves, stem, and root are said to possess medicinal properties, but the seeds are most efficacious. The plant appears to have been employed by the ancients in rheumatism, gout, and other diseases. In large doses it is said to produce giddiness, nausea, and diarrhea, and to be useful in cardiac hypertrophy, asthma, and bronchitis in doses of from one to three grains (0.065—0.2 Gm.) of the seed. Currently the foliage and stalks are employed in German phytomedicine as a bitter digestive tonic called Iberogast.
Iberis consists of about 50 species of annuals, perennials and evergreen subshrubs. Some of the better known are:
Iberis amara - rocket candytuft, bitter candytuft, wild candytuft
Iberis gibraltarica - Gibraltar candytuft
Iberis procumbens - dune candytuft
Iberis sempervirens - evergreen candytuft, perennial candytuft
Iberis umbellata - globe candytuft
They are excellent for rock gardens, bedding and borders in full sun or light shade. Candytuft is a cold hardy, fast-growing annual with lance shaped green leaves. It reaches a height of about 12 inches with a spread of about 6 inches.
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