Paris Market Wallflower
From Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia
Common Name: Paris Market Wallflower
Scientific Name: Erysimum cheiri cv. (Cheiranthus cheiri cv.)
Description: Spring blooming perennial often used as an annual; colorful mixture of red, mahogany, yellow, and white flowers; deliciously fragrant
Size: Grows 12 to 18 inches high and 12 inches wide
Cultural Information: Prefers full sun and well-drained garden loam
USDA Zones: 7 through 10
Historical Notes: This cheerful Wallflower strain is grown as an annual bedding flower in spring and early summer. Wallflowers, which have been cultivated since the 17th century, are divided into two genera, Cheiranthus and Erysimum, and there is much debate as to the differences between the two. Some authorities believe they are synonyms. The name Cheiranthus derives from the Latin for “hand flower,” referring to this fragrant flower’s use in nosegays and tussie mussies.
While serving as president, Jefferson sent his daughter Martha a “bundle of Wall flowers,” and he ordered wallflower seed from Philadelphia nurseryman Bernard McMahon in 1807. The wallflower also appears in the 1793 diary of Lady Jean Skipwith of Virginia, and Bernard McMahon includes it in his 1802 or 1803 seed catalog.
- ↑ This article is based on a Center for Historic Plants Information Sheet.
- ↑ Betts, Garden Book, 327.
- ↑ Ibid, 337. See also Edwin M. Betts, Hazlehurst Bolton Perkins, and Peter J. Hatch, Thomas Jefferson's Flower Garden at Monticello, 3rd ed. (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1986), 56.
- ↑ Lawrence D. Griffith, Flowers and Herbs of Early America (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2008), 218.
- Adams, Denise Wiles. Restoring American Gardens: An Encyclopedia of Heirloom Ornamental Plants, 1640-1940. Portland, Oregon: Timber Press, Inc., 2004
- Coates, Alice M. Flowers and their Histories. London: Black, 1968. See especially pp. 47-48
- Skipwith Family Papers, 1760-1977
- Stuart, David and James Sutherland. Plants from the Past: Old Flowers for New Gardens London: Viking, 1987
- Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants