The Q&A Archives: Identifying a Flowering Perennial

Question: Several years ago I received a bareroot perennial from the Michigan Bulb Co. as part of a perennial garden. It did poorly in my back yard with partial shade, so I moved it out front where there is more sunlight during the day. It now flourishes and is beautiful, but I'd like to know it 's name (common and other). I thought I remembered it being labled "cherianthus" or some variation of that. Here's what I can tell you about it. It grows in a nicely rounded mound with silvery-green leaves. In the spring it produces clusters of tiny yellow flowers all over it, almost completely covering the greenery. It stays like that for several weeks with the petals then falling off and leaving behind clusters of seed pods. It also seems to do well when the soil stays dry, not needing consistent watering. Thank you for any info you can send me. I'm always asked about it and would like to be able to tell others what it is. Thank you. Renee Ft. Meade, MD

Answer: Cheiranthus, or English wallflower, generally does not have the form you describe--it has larger flowers and not the mounding habit. It could be a variety of cheiranthus I'm not familiar with. I would suggest you contact Michigan Bulb Co.--they should be able to tell you the botanical name as well as any common names for the plant. Their address is 1950 Waldorf, N.W., Grand Rapids, MI 49550. Their catalog did not list a phone number.

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