Herbs & Plants

Erysimum capitatum

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Botanical Name : Erysimum capitatum
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Erysimum
Species: E. capitatum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Brassicales

Synonyms: Cheiranthus capitatus – Douglas,Erysimum asperum – (Nutt.)DC.

Common Names :Coastal Wallflower, Sanddune wallflower, western wallflower, or prairie rocket,    Contra Costa wallflower, San Luis Obispo wallflower, Pursh’

Habitat: Erysimum capitatum is native to Western N. AmericaBritish Columbia to Indiana, south to Texas and California. It is  found in many habitats from southern British Columbia to California at 750 – 3600 metres. Open dry flats and hillsides, from the lowest valleys to about 3,000 metres in the mountains

Erysimum capitatum is Biennial/Perennial growing to 0.6m.It is a mustard-like plant with thin, erect stems growing from a basal rosette and topped with dense bunches of variably colored flowers.It is in flower from July to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. Theys are most typically bright golden, yellow, tangerine-colored, but plants in some populations may have red, white or purple flowers. Each flower has four flat petals. Seed pods are nearly-parallel to the stem. Although quite variable in appearance, it is an attractive garden plant.


It is hardy to zone 6. There are several natural variants of this plant. Each is treated separately, with certain variants considered endangered species in some areas. For example Erysimum capitatum var angustatum, the Contra Costa wallflower, is an endangered plant in the state of California.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, requires well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. The plant prefers neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires dry or moist soil.

Requires a well-drained soil and a sunny position. Dislikes acid soils. Tolerates poor soils. Grows well on a sunny wall and is indeed longer lived in such a position. A polymorphic species, it is possibly a form of E. asperum.

Seed – sow spring in an outdoor seedbed. Germination usually takes place within 3 weeks. Plant the seedlings into their permanent positions when they are large enough to handle. If seed is in short supply, it can be sown in spring in pots in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in early summer.

Medicinal Uses:

Antirheumatic; Odontalgic; Poultice; Skin.

A preventative against sun burn, the plant was ground up then mixed with water and applied to the skin. It relieves the pain caused by overexposure to heat.  A poultice of the whole pounded plant has been applied to open fresh wounds and rheumatic joints. An infusion of the whole plant has been used as a wash on aching muscles.  The crushed leaves have been sniffed as a treatment for headaches.  A poultice of the warmed root has been applied to treat the pain of toothache.  An infusion of the crushed seed has been drunk and used externally in the treatment of stomach or bowel cramps. For chest pains or pneumonia, as a tea; or powdered, mixed with Osha and water and applied to the chest as a poultice.  It is sometimes used as a preventative in households where some members have coughs; for chills from exposure to cold weather; and at the onset of cold symptoms

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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