The Sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima (L.) Desv.) Is a herbaceous species belonging to the Brassicaceae family.
From a systematic point of view it belongs to the Eukaryota Domain, the Plantae Kingdom, the Spermatophyta Superdivision, the Magnoliophyta Division, the Magnoliopsida Class, the Dilleniidae Subclass, the Capparales Order, the Brassicaceae Family and therefore the Lobularia Genus and the L. maritima Species.
The term is basic:
– Clypeola maritima L .;
Other terms are synonyms:
– Alyssum maritimum (L.) Lam .;
– Koniga maritima (L.) R. Br ..
The term Lobularia comes from globulus (diminutive of globus globe, sphere) sphere: for the shape of the siliquette that characterizes the genus.
The specific maritime epithet derives from sea sea: maritime, marine, which grows near the sea.
Geographical Distribution and Habitat –
The Sweet alyssum is a plant of Mediterranean origins which is present in all regions of central-southern Italy, in Liguria, Piedmont, Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia.
Its habitat is that of cultivated fields, walls, rocky and sandy soils, beaches, dunes and macerets, from the sea level to about 300 m, even if it can go further.
The Lobularia maritima is a perennial plant, 15-40 cm tall, with a robust underground root sometimes even very elongated.
It has woody stems at the base, ascending, hairless and very branched.
The leaves are small, simple, with spatulate basal and cauline, alternate, lanceolate-linear, whole with acute apex and base often more or less attenuated in a species of petiole, all of a tomentose greyish-green color due to their hairiness .
The flowers are hermaphrodites, with a pleasant honey scent, which form at the apex of the flowering branches, collected in bare or slightly leafy inflorescences, dense with a raceme; these have the calyx with 4 sepals of 1 mm, the corolla with 4 small suborbicular petals of 2-3 mm, generally white, but also white-yellowish or with pink speckles, 6 stamens tetradinami, that is, 4 long and 2 lateral plus short, yellow anthers and a small pistil placed inside the flower and hardly visible.
It is a plant that blooms all year round even with relatively low temperatures.
The fruits are small spherical siliques with a diameter of 3-4 mm with two circular seeds inside (one per loggia), flat with a diameter of 1-2 mm and dark brown color. After insemination, the septa persist for a long time on the stem.
The Sweet alyssum, even if it is a spontaneous plant, is cultivated abundantly for its continuous flowering and its perfume. However, this plant tends to naturalize, so it becomes difficult to establish the natural areas of origin.
It is a plant that requires sunny areas and that is sown directly in the ground and germination occurs within 10-15 days.
Uses and Traditions –
Lobularia maritima, as mentioned, is a plant widely cultivated for ornamental purposes due to its continuous flowering and the scent of the flowers.
It is a plant with astringent, diuretic and antiscorbutic properties and for this purpose it is still used especially in Spain.
This plant is also used for food and the parts used are the fresh leaves and tops that are used in mixed salads and cooked in soups, the floral racemes are also used in salads as an edible decoration.
The optimal harvest period is between January and December.
Preparation method –
The Sweet alyssum, as well as for pharmaceutical purposes, can be used in the kitchen for the preparation of salads. For this purpose, young leaves and flowers are used which are used either as a dressing in salads or in particular dishes for their spicy flavor.
– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Lord’s Pharmacy, Tips and experiences with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Editore
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora of Italy, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (edited by), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
Warning: Pharmaceutical applications and alimurgical uses are indicated for information purposes only, they do not in any way represent a medical prescription; therefore, no responsibility is accepted for their use for healing, aesthetic or food purposes.