Reseda L.


Latin redo—to calm; the ancient Romans considered this plant to have soothing medicinal properties.

Herbs. Leaves alternate, simple or pinnate. Flowers bisexual, small, in spike-like clusters, petals cleft at the tip. Stamens numerous and clustered on one side of the flower. Carpels 3-6, fused below and open at the tip. Fruit a 1-celled capsule.

Grown occasionally as R. luteola L., Dyer's Rocket (Dyer's Mignonette) from Canary Islands and the Mediterranean, an upright hollow-stemmed biennial to nearly 2 m tall and once used as a source of dark yellow dye but now known mainly as a weed of agriculture and waste places. Other naturalised species of similar habitats include R. lutea L., Cut-leaved Mignonette from Eurasia, which has typically 3-lobed leaves with linear segments and R. alba L., White Mignonette from Europe which has pinnate leaves and is an occasional garden escape.

Mostly by seed.

Reseda odorata is the source of an essential oil used in perfumery, R. luteola formerly as a source of yellow dye.

Carpels open at the tip.

About 60 species, mostly from the Mediterranean but also SW Asia to India.

Source: Spencer, R. (1997). Resedaceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 2. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 1. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Magnoliopsida
superorder     Rosanae
order      Brassicales
family       Resedaceae
Higher taxa
Subordinate taxa
species         Reseda odorata L.