This section is from the book "Wayside And Woodland Blossoms", by Edward Step. Also available from Amazon: Wayside And Woodland Blossoms: A Guide To British Wild-Flowers.
So familiar is the Sweet Mignonette of our gardens, and so like and yet unlike are these wild species, that whilst no one would take them for the garden plant one need not be a botanist to see their natural affinities at a glance. Like their garden relative these are annual herbs, becoming biennial when we have mild winters; with flowers that are individually inconspicuous, but which gain sufficient prominence by being associated in racemes. In colour they are a yellow-green. The calyx is irregular, and divided into from four to seven narrow segments; there is a similar number of unequal petals, each deeply cleft into two lobes, and a multitude of stamens. The stigmas are lobes at the mouth of the open ovary.
I. Wild Mignonette (R. lutea) grows in dry waste places, especially in chalky districts. Its leaves vary a great deal, but are either pinnate or deeply lobed in a somewhat irregular manner. Flowers, pale-yellow in a tolerably dense raceme. Very similar to the Sweet Mignonette, but stiffer, more erect, and scentless. Flowers June to September.
II. Weld (R. luteola). This is a much taller plant than R. lutea, with longer racemes and denser ; the flowers more green than yellow, and with undivided glossy leaves. Petals, three, four, or five. In the days before aniline colours this plant was much used by dyers, and cultivated for their purposes. It yields a beautiful yellow dye, and its juice is also used in the preparation of the artist's colour called Dutch pink. It is a common wayside plant in England and in Ireland, more rare in Scotland, and flowers from June to September.
Wild Mignonette. Weld. Dyer's Weed.
Reseda lutea. Reseda luteola.
- Resedaceae. -