This section is from the book "The Botanical Magazine; Or, Flower-Garden Displayed", by William Curtis. Also available from Amazon: The Botanical Magazine; or, Flower-Garden Displayed, Volume I.
Cheiranthus Maritimus. Mediterranean Stock.
Germen utrinque denticulo glandulato. Cal. clausus: foliolis duobus basi gibbis. Semina plana.
CHEIRANTHUS maritimus foliis ellipticis obtusis nudis scabriusculis, caule diffuso scabro. Linn. Syst. Vegetab. p. 597. Mantiss. p. 568. Ait. Hort. Kew. v. 2. p. 395.
LEUCOJUM minus flore violaceo. Barr. Ic. 1127.
Linnaeus has described this plant minutely in his Mantissa Plant, so that no doubt remains of its being his maritimus.
With us, it has been customary for Gardeners and Nurserymen to distinguish this species by the name of Virginia Stock, a name highly improper, as it is found to be a native of the Mediterranean coast.
The blossoms which this plant first puts forth are of a lively red, in a few days they become of a blueish purple colour; to this variety of hues the plant owes its chief beauty.
Being of humble growth, and producing a profusion of bloom, which is of long duration, it is frequently used as an edging to borders, and sometimes sown in little patches with other annuals; in whatever way used, it contributes greatly to enliven the borders of the flower-garden.
It is one of those annuals whose seeds should be sown in the autumn, as it thereby comes much forwarder into bloom, and its blossoms are more lively than those arising from seeds sown in the spring; by varying the time of sowing, it may be had to flower in spring, summer, and autumn.
Small pots of it in bloom have a pretty appearance, and may be used to decorate the windows of those who reside in cities or great towns, where the pleasures of the garden are not to be enjoyed.