This section is from the book "Handbook Of Hardy Trees, Shrubs, And Herbaceous Plants", by W. Botting Hemsley. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of hardy trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.
Annuals or dwarf branching shrubby perennials, often clothed with hoary stellate hairs. Leaves distant, or the radical ones tufted, usually entire. Flowers small, white or yellow. Sepals equal. Petals entire or bifid. Filaments sometimes appen-diculate. Pods short, variable in shape; seeds 2 to 10. About ninety species are known, chiefly from the shores of the Mediterranean. The name is said to be derived from a, privative, and madness, in allusion to the fabulous properties attributed to the species; hence the English Madwort.
1. A. saxatile (fig. 37). - A low shrubby branched perennial with whitish foliage and flowers of the brightest yellow. A common plant in cultivation, growing in dense tufts about a toot high, with close corymbs of small flowers. One of our handsomest early Spring flowers. A. Gemonense is closely allied to this, and perhaps a variety of it, but it is a more vigorous and larger plant altogether. South of Europe.
Fig. 37. Alyssum saxatile. (1/3 nat. size.)
2. A. maritimum, syn. Koniga maritima. - A much-branched procumbent plant with slender wiry branches, less than a foot high, and small linear-lanceolate leaves, and small white flowers. The variegated form is very pretty, and extensively employed for edging, etc. Europe, Asia Minor.