Facts about Wallflower – Erysimum cheiri

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Wallflower Quick Facts
Name: Wallflower
Scientific Name: Erysimum cheiri OR Cheiranthus cheiri
Origin Europe, especially Mediterranean region
Shapes Long, narrow, hairy and slender siliques or pods about 40-75 mm long and 2.5-5 mm wide
Taste Bitter
Health benefits Good for dry bronchitis, fevers and injuries to the eyes, impotence, paralysis, aphthous, inflammations, menstruation, purify the kidneys and liver
  Erysimum cheiri syn. Cheiranthus cheiri, popularly known as wallflower is a species of flowering plant in the family Brassicaceae (Cruciferae). The plant is native to Europe, especially Mediterranean region and is extensively cultivated around the world. It is mostly grown as a garden plant. It is a common medicinal plant in Persian medicine (PM) while, it is not popular in modern medicine. Wallflower, Aegean wallflower, Common Wallflower, gele muurbloem, Handflower, Perennial Wallflower, Blister Cress, Hedge Mustard and Cheir’s wallflower are some of the well-known names of the plant. The genus name comes from the Greek word “Eryo”, which means “to drag”. Specific epithet comes from the Greek word cheir which means hand in reference to an old custom dating back to the Middle Ages where wall flowers were carried in small bouquets by hand to festivals or other events. The common name for Erysimum is “Wallflower” because they are often seen on old walls or cliffs.

Apart from that it’s interesting that this plant is still sold under their old name of “Cheiranthus” as well. The name Cheiranthus comes from the Greek words “cheir”, which means “hand” and “anthos” meaning “flower”, referring to a medieval custom in which the flowers were often carried in the hand at festivals. The species were formerly classified into two genera, Erysimum and Cheiranthus, but are now classed under the genus Erysimum.

Wallflower Facts

Name Wallflower
Scientific Name Erysimum cheiri OR Cheiranthus cheiri
Native Europe, especially Mediterranean region and is extensively cultivated around the world
Common Names Wallflower, Aegean wallflower, Common Wallflower, gele muurbloem, Handflower, Perennial Wallflower, Blister Cress, Hedge Mustard, Cheir’s wallflower
Name in Other Languages Afrikaans: Muurblommetjie
Albanian: Femër e injoruar, lulja e Misirit, shebojë
Arabic: Zahrat aljidar (زهرة الجدار)
Armenian: Shahprak (շահպրակ)
Azerbaijani: Xeyri
Basque: Wallflower
Belarusian: Zheltofiol’ sadovaya (желтофиоль садовая)
Bengali: Wallflower
Bosnian: Seboj
Bulgarian: Mnogogodishen shiboĭ (многогодишен шибой)
Catalan: Violer, violer groc
Cebuano: Wallflower
Chichewa: Kungokhala maluwa a pakhoma
Chinese: Júwàirén (局外人)
Croatian: Seboj
Czech: Cekanka, chejr vonný, trýzel chejr, Cheirant voňavý
Danish: Bænkevarmer, gyldenlak
Dutch: Muurbloem, gyldenlak, gele muurbloem,
English: Wallflower, Aegean wallflower, Common Wallflower, gele muurbloem, Handflower, Cheir’s wallflower, Common wallflower
Esperanto: Levkojo
Estonian: Kuldlakk
Filipino: Mahiyaing tao sa pista
Finnish: Seinäkoriste, Kultalakka              
French: Giroflée, Giroflée des murailles, Violier jaune, revenelle, velard, carafe, giroflée jaune, giroflée violier, violier                   
Galician: Goivo-amarelo
Georgian: Wallflower
German: Mauerblümchen, Goldlack, gold lack, Echter Goldlack, Goldlack-Schöterich,
Greek: mi chorévon theatís choroú (μη χορεύων θεατής χορού), Kitrini violetta
Gujarati: Vōlaphlāvara (વોલફ્લાવર)
Haitian: Creole jirofle
Hausa: Filawan bango
Hebrew: כָּתלִית
Hindi: Wallflower
Hmong: Wallflower
Hungarian: Sárgaviola
Icelandic: Veggblóm
Igbo: Wallflower
Indonesian: Gadis yg duduk tanpa berdansa
Irish: Wallflower
Italian: Violacciocca, leucojo giallo, barco, leucoio, viola gialla, violaciocca gialla
Japanese: Nioi-araseitō, U~ōmufurawā (ウォームフラワー)
Javanese: Wallflower
Kannada: Phlavar (ಫ್ಲವರ್)             
Kazakh: Jeltofïol Baq (желтофиоль Бақ)
Khmer: Wallflower
Korean: Kkochmu (꽃무)
Lao: Wallflower
Latin: Wallflower
Latvian: Goldlaks
Lithuanian: Smalka
Macedonian: Wallflower
Malagasy: Wallflower   
Malay: Wallflower
Malayalam: Vallphleāver ( വല്ല്ഫ്ലൊവെര്)
Maltese: Wallflower, Ġiżi safra
Maori: Wallflower
Marathi: Wallflower
Mongolian: Wallflower
Myanmar (Burmese): Wallflower
Nepali: Wallflower
Netherland: Gele Muurbloem
Norwegian: Veggpryd, lakkfiol, Gyllenlakk
Occitan: Viòulié jaune
Persian: شب بوی زرد
Polish: Lak, lak pospolity
Portuguese: Wallflower, goiveiro, goiveiro-amarelo, goivo-amarelo
Romanian: Wallflower, micşunea, micșunele ruginite
Russian: Zheltofiol’ sadovaya (желтофиоль садовая), Zheltofiol (Желтофиоль), Zheltushnik Cheri  (Желтушник Чери), Lakfiol (Лакфиоль), lakfiol’ obyknovennyy (лакфиоль обыкновенный)
Serbian: Sheboj (шебој), baštenski šeboj (баштенски шебој), žuti šeboj  (жути шебој)
Sesotho: Wallflower
Sinhala: Wallflower
Slovak: Cakanka, cheir voňavý, horčičník
Slovenian: Wallflower, zlatenec, zlati šebenik
Somali: Wallflower
Spanish: Alhelí, Alhelí amarillo, Alhelí pajizo
Swahili: Wallflower
Swedish: Panelhöna, gyllenlack, Lackviol
Tajik: Wallflower
Tamil: Vāl ḥpiḷavar  (வால் ஃபிளவர்)
Telugu: Vālphlavar (వాల్ఫ్లవర్)
Thai: Phụ̄ch yurop chnid h̄nụ̀ng  (พืชยุโรปชนิดหนึ่ง)
Turkish: Sarı şebboy
Ukrainian: Zheltofiol’ sadovi (желтофіоль садові), lakfiolʹ zvychayna  (лакфіоль звичайна)
Urdu: Wallflower
Uzbek: Wallflower
Vietnamese: Vải hoa
Welsh: Stad oddefol hon
Yiddish: Vallflover  (וואַללפלאָווער)
Yoruba: Wallflower
Zulu: Wallflower
Plant Growth Habit Erect, woody-based, evergreen, herbaceous perennial herb, often grown as a biennial
Growing Climates Walls, cliffs, old walls and rocks, often near the sea
Soil It has a preference for light or sandy, medium/ loamy and heavy or clay soils. While it needs a properly drained soil, the plant can also grow in soils containing less nutritional substances
Plant Size Grows 12 to 18 inches tall and 12 inches wide
Root Woody taproot
Stem Erect, woody, leafy, simple or usually much branched from the base, tomentose with stellate branched forked trichomes
Leaf Basal leaves are simple, in dense rosulate, linear oblanceolate-oblong, about 40-90 mm long and  4-10 mm wide, base attenuate, margin entire or slightly dentate, apex acute, petiole very short to sub sessile
Flowering season April to June
Flower Flower has purplish-green sepals and rounded petals which are two to three centimeters long and in shades of bright yellows to reds and purples
Fruit Shape & Size Long, narrow, hairy and slender siliques or pods about 40-75 mm long and 2.5-5 mm wide
Propagation By seeds and through cuttings
Plant Parts Used Flowers, stems, leaves, seeds
Seed Sub-orbicular, pale brown and about 3 mm long
Taste Bitter

Plant Description

Wallflower is an erect, woody-based, evergreen, herbaceous perennial herb, often grown as a biennial that normally grows about 12 to 18 inches tall and 12 inches wide. The plant is found growing in walls, cliffs, old walls and rocks often near the sea. It has a preference for light or sandy, medium/ loamy and heavy or clay soils. While it needs a suitably drained soil, the plant can also grow in soils containing less nutritional substances. This plant loves sharp soil drainage as represented by its ability to grow in little pockets of gritty soil on stone walls as suggested by its common name of wallflower. The plant has woody taproot. Stem is erect, woody, leafy, and simple or usually much branched from the base, tomentose with stellate branched forked trichomes.

Leaves

Basal leaves are simple, in dense rosulate, linear oblanceolate-oblong, about 40-90mm long and  4-10 mm wide, base attenuate, margin entire or slightly dentate, apex acute, petiole very short to sub sessile. Cauline leaves are similar to base leaves becoming smaller towards the shoot, densely placed, petiole sub sessile to sessile.

Flowers

Flowers are bisexual, yellow, showy orange, about 2-2.5 cm across, pedicel erect, stout, ascending, about 5-8 mm long, up to 15 mm long in fruit. Sepals 4, sub equal, erect, oblong, apex obtuse, about 8-10 mm long. Petals 4, obovate-spathulate, base cuneate, margin entire, apex obtuse or sub emarginate, about 18-22 mm long and 10-14 mm across, claw broad differentiated. Stamens 6, tetradynamous, about 9-14 mm long, filaments simple, anthers linear-oblong, about 3-4 mm long. Ovary is superior, linear, ellipsoid-cylindrical, sessile, bicarpellary, syncarpous, pubescent. Flowering normally takes place in between April to June.

Wallflowers come in pale blues, greens, pinks, and creamy yellows, but you can also find them in warmer reds, oranges, hot pinks, and golden yellows.

Fruits

Similar to other plants belonging to the class of mustards, fertile flowers of these plant are followed by long, narrow, hairy and slender siliques or pods which has separate ribs and numerous seeds are arranged in one row. They are linear-sub cylindrical, compressed, terete, quadrangular, slightly curved, latiseptate, about 40-75 mm long and 2.5-5 mm wide. Seeds are light brown, oblong-ovoid, winged; about 3 mm long, minutely reticulate, mucilaginous when soaked.

Popular Varieties of Wall Flowers

  • English Wall Flower: The English Wallflower (Cheiranthus kewensis), may be primrose, dark red, yellow, orange or purplish. It has brownish-orange flowers that turn purplish. In Europe the English Wallflowers are a common sight in the spring flowerbeds.
  • The Siberian Wallflower: Cheiranthus Allionii, may be orange or yellow and are produced abundantly in April and May. Botanists consider it as a product of Erysimum asperum, a Native American species, which is hardier than the English variety.
  • The Alpine Wall flowers: The Alpine Wall flowers may be yellow, orange-yellow, or purplish. Another Alpine variety, Cheiranthus linifolius, bears tiny, lilac-mauve flowers used in the rock garden. This plant is correctly named Erysimum linifolium.

Traditional uses and benefits of Wallflower

  • In homoeopathic medicine a tincture of the whole plant has been found useful in the effects of cutting the wisdom tooth.
  • Wallflower was previously used mainly as a diuretic and emmenogogue but recent research has shown that it is more valuable for its effect on the heart.
  • In small doses it is a cardio tonic, supporting a failing heart in a similar manner to foxglove.
  • Flowers and stems are anti-rheumatic, antispasmodic, cardio-tonic, emmenogogue, nervine, purgative and resolvent.
  • They are used in the treatment of impotence and paralysis.
  • The essential oil is normally used.
  • Seeds are aphrodisiac, diuretic, expectorant, stomachic and tonic.
  • They are used in the treatment of dry bronchitis, fevers and injuries to the eyes.
  • Topical dilute decoction of the flower was recognized as a good remedy for aphthous and inflammations.
  • Topical oil of flower has been stated as analgesic, anti-inflammation and hair tonic.
  • Root in a topical decoction or poultice has been reported as analgesic and anti-inflammatory agent.
  • Seeds in the form of sitz bath or vaginal suppository have been administered as emmenogogue, abortifacient and labor inducer.
  • In Indian markets there is a multi-component tablet containing wallflower for breastfeeding mothers to improve lactation.
  • In traditional societies of present India, wallflower is still used as an abortifacient agent.
  • In Indian medicine, flowers are recommended as cardio active, antispasmodic, purgative, emmenogogue, deobstruent and tonic.
  • Wallflower seeds are known as stomachic, diuretic, expectorant, but goitrogenic and the extracts of leaves and the seeds are antibacterial.
  • Doctors prescribed wallflower to ease pain during childbirth, stimulate menstruation, purify the kidneys and liver as well as resolve cataract problems.
  • Medications prepared with these parts of the wallflower are used to treat impotence and palsy/ paralysis.
  • Seeds of the herb are often used to treat fever, dry bronchitis and even eye injuries.

Other Facts

  • Flowers contain 0.06% essential oil.
  • It has a pleasing aroma if diluted and is used in perfumery.
  • Flowers of this plant are expansively used for bedding and are also useful as cut flowers and for containers.
  • In Palestine, the wallflower is known as the ‘blood drops of Christ’.
  • Dreaming of wallflowers is said to be a sign to those in love that their sweetheart will be true to them.
  • Wallflowers grow only leaves in the first season from seed. Then in second season, blooms, seeds and dies with first frost.
  • Erysimum is a symbol of fidelity.

Precautions

  • The plant is said to be poisonous if used in large quantities.
  • When taken in large doses, it is toxic.
  • Use only under professional supervision.
  • Do not take Wallflower during pregnancy.

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erysimum_cheiri

http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?taxonid=278066

http://www.floracatalana.net/cheiranthus-cheiri-l-

https://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/w/wallfl04.html

https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=ERCH10

https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=22936#null

https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxonomydetail.aspx?id=318992

https://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/13316

https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q159370

http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/kew-2799915

https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Cheiranthus+cheiri

https://www.flowersofindia.net/catalog/slides/English%20Wallflower.html

https://gd.eppo.int/taxon/CHUCH

https://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/1562/#b

https://indiabiodiversity.org/species/show/229653

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