Aethionema grandiflorum

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Aethionema grandiflorum Boiss. & Hohen.

Brassicaceae

Life form: subshrub

Exposure: sun   6

Moisture: moderately moist

Soil: gritty loam

Arrangement: alternate
Leaves: evergreen

Shape: linear

Division: simple

Shape: cruciform
Fruit: silicle

63D / e981ab 

Inflorescence: raceme

Petals: not specified
Habit: not specified

Growth form: mat-forming

Taxonomy

Divisio:
Magnoliophyta
Subdivisio:
Magnoliophytina
Classis:
Rosopsida
Subclassis:
Dilleniidae
Superordo:
Violanae
Ordo:
Capparales

Aethionema grandiflorum, commonly known as Persian Stone Cress, is a compact subshrub that is very well suited for rockeries.

Naming

Aethionema grandiflorum was described in 1849 by Pierre Edmond Boissier and Rudolph Friedrich Hohenacker. The name is considered as validly published.

Taxonomy

Aethionema grandiflorum is a species in the genus Aethionema which contains approximately 62 to 76 species and belongs to the family of the Brassicaceae (Mustard Family).

Characteristics

Aethionema grandiflorum - flowers
Aethionema grandiflorum - flowers
Aethionema grandiflorum - in full bloom

Growth

The plants grow to a height of 20 to 30 centimetres and approximately 30 to 45 centimetres wide. They are rather short-lived but self-seed freely.

Leaves

Aethionema grandiflorum is an evergreen plant with simple alternate leaves. They are bluish to grey-green and linear with entire margins.

Flowers and Fruit

The pink, cross-shaped flowers are arranged in racemes. The plants bloom from June to July.

The fruits are silicles.

Distribution

Aethionema grandiflorum is native to Turkey, north Iraq, the Caucasus and Iran.

Cultivation

The subshrubs prefer a sunny situation on moderately moist soil. The substrate should be gritty loam with a pH between 8 and 10. They tolerate temperatures down to -23°C (USDA zone 6). Winter wetness is not well tolerated.

Classification after Prof. Dr. Sieber

  • rockeries

Uses

The ornamental value of Aethionema grandiflorum lies especially in its fragrance. The subshrubs can be used in rockeries and dry walls, cottage gardens, as a groundcover, in the foreground of beds and borders as well as in troughs. They also provide pasture for bees. They plants are best planted solitary or in small groups of three to five specimens, the planting distance is approx. 20 to 30 centimetres. Good companions are e.g. Iberis saxatilis, Arabis alpina subsp. caucasica or Dianthus deltoides.

Maintenance and Propagation

The plants need little to no maintenance if grown under suitable conditions. Prune back lightly after flowering to promote compact growth. Also prune back if self-seeding is not wanted. Winter protection is advisable.

Propagate by seeds or softwood cuttings in spring.

Pests and Diseases

Honeydew, galls and distorted leaves are a sign for an infestation with aphids. Use an insecticide or control biologically , e.g. with parasitic wasps or predators such as Aphidoletes aphidimyza.

Fine webs on the plants indicate an infestation with red spider mites. These sap-sucking insects mainly appear under glass and can be controlled either with insecticide or biologically with parasitic mites.

Literature

  • Walter Erhardt, Erich Götz, Nils Bödeker, Siegmund Seybold: Der große Zander. Eugen Ulmer KG, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-8001-5406-7. (Ger.)
  • Christoper Brickell (Editor-in-chief): RHS A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants. Third edition. Dorling Kindersley, London 2003, ISBN 0-7513-3738-2.

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