Reseda odorata Reseda odorata Reseda odorata Reseda alba Reseda alba Reseda alba Reseda lutea Reseda lutea Reseda lutea

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Dyer's Rocket

Reseda luteola

  • Name also: Dyer’s weed, Weld, Dyers Weld
  • Family: Mignonette Family – Resedaceae
  • Growing form: Biennial or perennial herb.
  • Height: 40–80 cm (16–32 in.). Stem unbranched or upper part branched.
  • Flower: Irregular (zygomorphic). Petals usually 4, pale yellow, often lobed. Sepals usually 4. Stamens 10–25. Pistils 3–4. Inflorescence a terminal spike.
  • Leaves: Alternate, short-stalked, quite erect. Leaves without stipules, but base often with glands. Blade lanceolately linear, glabrous, with entire, wavy margin.
  • Fruit: Egg-shaped, erect, capsule opening from tip.
  • Habitat: Ballast soil deposits, roadsides, harbours and mills. A rare and casual alien.
  • Flowering time: June–September.

Dyer’s rocket was the most important source of yellow dye in Europe until the Middle Ages. The plant was already known to the Romans who gave it the name lutum, from the Latin word luteus, meaning ‘yellow’, after the colour of the plant’s root. Dyer’s rocket was highly esteemed as a dying plant and professional dyers were able to use it to produce beautiful colours that were at once bright, clean, durable and also expensive. All the parts of the plant contain a yellow colouring that is nowadays known as luteolin. Dyer’s rocket grows wild in southern and central Europe, and casually and in gardens in Finland. It used to grow wild in the 18th century around the Turku dying factory. Nowadays it is a casual visitor, and there is nothing to prevent someone who is interested in the organic lifestyle or fed up with the harshness of synthetic dyes from growing it and testing out its properties for themselves. It thrives in well-drained, preferably calciferous land and flowers in sunny places.

Common Mignonette & White Mignonette & Wild Mignonette

Reseda odorata & Reseda alba & Reseda lutea

Genus Reseda contains around 55 species, of which a few others can be found growing casually in the wild. Common mignonette (garden mignonette) is an ornamental that is cultivated for its pleasant fragrance, although there are people who can’t smell it at all. Common mignonette flowers are modest, greenish white, and its lively green leaves are elliptic or narrowly obovate. Sometimes white mignonette (white upright mignonette), which has impressive white flowers, is also cultivated. Wild mignonette can sometimes be found in harbours and along roadsides. Its flowers are pale yellow, just like dyer’s rocket, and its leaves have long and narrow lobes.

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