Iberis umbellata Iberis umbellata Lobularia maritima Lobularia maritima Lobularia maritima

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Wild Candytuft

Iberis amara

  • Name also: Wild Candytuft, Rocket Candytuft, Bitter Candytuft, Hyacinth Candytuft
  • Family: Mustard Family – Brassicaceae (Cruciferae)
  • Growing form: Annual herb.
  • Height: 15–30 cm (6–12 in.). Stem bristly, branching from crown, short-haired, bristles descending oblique.
  • Flower: Corolla irregular (zygomorphic), white–light violet. Petals 4, of which 2 outermost long (6 mm (0.24 in.), and 2 innermost short (3 mm (0.12 in.)). Sepals 4. Stamens 6. Gynoeciem fused, a single carpel. Flowers fragrant, inflorescence initially dense and corymbose, becoming more sparse in fruiting stage.
  • Leaves: Alternate, lowest soon withering, middle and upper leaves stalkless, narrowly obovate, sparse-toothed at tip (sometimes with short margins), margin sparsely hairy, 3-veined.
  • Fruit: With 2 compartments, 2-seeded, round, flat, 4–6 mm (0.16–0.24 in.) long winged silicula. Wing widest at tip, tip notched with approx. 1 mm (0.04 in.) bristle. Stalk initially short, later at least as long as silicula. Seed flat, narrowly winged.
  • Habitat: Yards, roadsides, wasteland, culturally-influenced land. Ornamental, occasionally wild.
  • Flowering time: July–August.

Genus Iberis species are garden plants in Finland and can be found particularly in rockeries and to a certain extant as escapes from there. Among the most common escapes in the genus are wild candytuft and globe candytuft (I. umbellata). The name of the genus is a big hint that the plant originates from or is at least common on the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal). Wild candytuft’s species epithet amara (lat. amarus) refers to its bitter flavour.

Globe Candytuft (Garden Candytuft)

Iberis umbellata

Globe candytuft’s species name umbellata is a good description of the structure of both of these plants’ flowers. Globe candytuft’s flowers are slightly larger and a darker red (often lilac) than those of globe candytuft, the leaves have entire margins and the silicula wings and tip are clearly longer.

Sweet Alison (Sweet Alyssum)

Lobularia maritima

Sweet alison is a garden plant and an escape looking a lot like candytufts. Small white flowers form clusters. Fruits are quite small (2–3.5 mm across) disc-like siliculae.

Other species from the same family

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