Description: Biennial or perennial herbs with erect leafy stems; hairless or with simple branched or glandular hairs.
Leaves ovate to spathulate, entire to pinnatifid.
Flowers usually with bracts, in racemes or panicles, sometimes strongly fragrant. Sepals 4, erect, rarely spreading, the inner pair with a pouch at the base. Petals 4 with a long claw, white to violet, yellowish, greenish or brown. Style short, stigma with 2 erect lobes. Stamens 6, 4 long, 2 short.
Fruit a slender siliqua, usually tetragonal in section, valves 3 nerved, slightly compressed, keeled; seeds in one row in each cell
Flowering: Flowers spring–summer.
Distribution and occurrence:
A genus of about 30 species from Western Europe to Western China. 1 species naturalised in Australia.
Text by B.M. Wiecek
Taxon concept: The European Garden Flora Vol. 4, 1995:137 & The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening Vol 2, 1992:559.
|One species in NSW: Hesperis matronalis|