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 Mutabilis. Changeable Wall-Flower.
Germen utrinque denticulo glandulato. Cal. clausus foliolis duobus basi gibbis. Sem. plana.
CHEIRANTHUS mutabilis foliis lanceolatis acuminatis argute serratis, caule frutescente, siliquis pedunculatis. Ait. Hort. Kew. v. 2. p. 395.
The present species of Cheiranthus, unknown both to Miller and Linnaeus, was first described in the Hortus Kewensis of Mr. Aiton, who informs us that it was introduced to the Royal Garden in 1777, and found wild in the Island of Madeira by Mr. Masson.
Its chief merit as an ornamental plant consists in its early flowering; its blossoms which are shewy contribute to enliven the green-house in March and April; on their first expanding, they are white, in some plants (for they are subject to great variation) inclined to yellow, in a few days they become purple; to this change of colour observable also in the Cheiranthus maritimus already figured, it owes its name of mutabilis.
In sheltered gardens at the foot of a wall, we have known this species survive a mild winter; it seems indeed to be almost as hardy as the common stock; it is most commonly however kept in the green-house.
The usual way of propagating this species, which is of ready and quick growth, is by cuttings, which should be put into the ground as soon as the plant has done flowering; these if properly treated will become handsome plants to place in the green-house at the approach of Winter, and to decorate it the ensuing Spring; in like manner may the green-house be annually recruited with many similar plants to great advantage.