BASKET OF GOLD

COMMON NAME:  basket of gold
GENUS:  Alyssum  {although this plant is generally listed in catalogs as Alyssum saxatile, it can also be listed in the genus Aurinia}
SPECIES, HYBRIDS, CULTIVARS,
A. saxatile  ‘Citrinum’-pale yellow flowers.
A.s. ‘Compactum’-bright yellow flowers; shorter plants.
A.s. ‘Flora Plenum’-double form; bright yellow; each flower is like a miniature rose.
FAMILY:  Cruciferae
BLOOMS:  early spring
TYPE:  perennial
DESCRIPTION:  Basket of gold is characterized by masses of yellow flowers. This is a splendid plant to use in rock gardens or as an edging plant. It is also quite effective in hanging baskets or in containers.
CULTIVATION:  Alyssum prefers sightly acidic, not-so-rich soil that is well drained. Plants should be set out in the spring or fall. Seeds can be sown outdoors in seedbeds in late May. They should bloom from seed in approximately six weeks. After the plant blooms, cut it back to about half its height to stimulate new growth.

Basket of gold was brought to the United States from Crete in the early 1700’s. The genus name, Alyssum, comes from two Greek words, a, meaning “without,” and lysson, meaning “rage” or “madness.” The plant was given this name because at one time it was used to cure hydrophobia and other mental disorders. Other common names include madwort, also alluding to its supposed medicinal powers, and gold dust, referring to its lovely yellow gold yellows. A. maritimum {also referred to as Lobularia maritima} originally grew by the sea, as indicated by the name. This species has a lovely honey scent and is wonderful to include in a seaside garden.
According to superstition, if you wear a sprig of basket of gold, it will prevent anyone from getting angry with you.
Much confusion persists about the genus name. Although the original genus was divided into several new groupings, species found within this genus can now be found either as Lobularia or Aurinia, as well as Alyssum.

Basket of gold makes a very good cut flower.

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