Wild mignonette Reseda lutea

Status
Best Time to See
Colour
Habitat Grassland

"You sent me a sprig of mignonette,    Cool-colored, quiet, and it was wet    With green sea-spray...You said: “My sober mignonetteWill brighten your room and you will not forget”.- Amy Lowell, “Merely Statement”

Description

In high summer the pale greenish yellow spires of the wild mignonette stand out conspicuously amongst the grassland in which they are generally found. Although not as fragrant as the garden mignonette, its flowers do hve a musky scent.

How to spot it

Rising from a basal rosette of leaves the branched flowering stems stand 12 - 30 inches high and carry spikes of small, six-petalled greenish yelow flowers. The leaves are cut into wavy edged lobes.

Where it grows

On well-drained soils in open habitats, occurring on waste ground and roadside verges, in marginal grassland, disused railway land, quarries and arable land, in disturbed chalk and limestone grassland and on fixed sand dunes.

Best time to see

In flower June to September

Cultural info

In the Language of Flowers mignonette means ‘Your qualities surpass your charms’.

How's it doing?

Continues to be common throughout England and the north and south of Wales, but in Scotland is largely restricted to lowland areas in the south.

3 things you might not know

  • Another name for it is ‘Dyer’s Rocket’, reflecting its use in dying cloth
  • The leaves are eaten by the caterpillars of various butterflies, including the Cabbage White, Bath White and Orange Tip.
  • The name ‘mignonette’ comes from the French ‘mignon’, meaning ‘dainty’.