Aegean Wallflower; or,
English Wallflower; or,
"To muse, & be saluted by the air
Of meek repentance, wafting wallflower scents
From out the crumbling ruins of fallen pride
And chambers of transgression, now forlorn."
The "Charity" series of wallflowers come in a variety of colors: Charity Cream, Charity Yellow, Charity Rose Red, & the one we have, Charity Scarlet (or Scarlet Bronze). They were developed by American Takii, Inc., of Silinas California, a subsidiary of Takii & Co., Japan.
Erysimum cheiri (formerly Cheiranthus cheiri) is a semi-woody & tender perennial of the mustard family, usually grown as a biennial. It is not drought-hardy nor is it as cold-hardy or heat-hardy as its near relative the Alpine Wallflower (E. linifolium). It will probably only delight the garden for two years. In our Zone 8 it does sometimes perennialize for a couple extra years, though in every case it is relatively shortlived. They prefer poor, light, somewhat alkaline soils, & might live a couple years longer in limy soil. But they get by as biennials in our richer acidic soils.
Originally from Mediterranean Europe, they have escaped to the wild in areas of England & Ireland where they self-seed along limestone cliffs. They have been naturalized in the British Isles for many centuries, where they acquired the name "Wallflower" due to their fondness for alkalinity having encouraged them to root into the masonry of old castle ruins & ancient mortared stone fences. Nowadays restoration projects have cleared the wallflowers from most of the walls they once clung to with such vigor.
It flowers a long while from May through June, & almost always reblooms for August & September. It is somewhat dwarf, only a foot tall & a half foot wide.
Butterflies are drawn to the flowers, so that Erysimum is recommendable as insectory plants to encourage pollinators & predator insects to reproduce in the garden. Birds like to eat the flower seeds, hence this species is also recommended plantings for garden birdwatchers. For more about this species, including some interesting folklore, see the page for the cultivar 'Orange Chieri.'
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