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This is a genus of about 35 species of evergreen Australian shrubs mostly occuring as understory plants in forests in dappled shade.
They have proved extremely adaptable as long as good drainage is assured. The small, often aromatic leaves can almost disappear beneath the waxy pink or white blooms. They are marginally frost hardy to frost tender. Plant in neutral to acid, well-drained soil.
A hardy southern European annual, grown since the sixteenth century, with smooth, glossy, lyrate leaves and pale citron-yellow flowers. It can be eaten young and tender in salads or mixed into pasta and rice dishes. It is used as a leaf vegetable, which looks like a longer leaved and open lettuce. It is rich in vitamin C and potassium. It has been grown in the Mediterranean area since Roman times, and is considered an aphrodisiac. In addition to the leaves, the flowers (often used in salads as an edible garnish), young seed pods and mature seeds are all edible. It is now cultivated in various places, especially in Veneto, Italy, but is available throughout the world. In India, the mature seeds are known as Gargeer. It has a rich, peppery taste, and has an exceptionally strong flavor for a leafy green. It is generally used in salads but also cooked as a vegetable or used raw with pasta or meats in northern Italy and in coastal Slovenia. On the island of Ischia in the Gulf of Naples, a digestive alcohol called rucolino is made from the plant, a drink often enjoyed in small quantities following a meal.
Fitweed is an annual tropical herb, indigenous to the Amazon rainforest and other tropical areas of the Americas. It grows best under moist, shaded conditions near cultivated areas. Culantro or long coriander as it is called, is often mistaken for its relative, coriander (cilantro). Fitweed is a herb with a pungent odor; the leaves have toothed margins and they grow in a basal rosette pattern. Culantro is rich in iron, carotene, riboflavin and calcium. This plant is widely used as food flavoring and seasoning herb for dishes and chutney in the Caribbean; it is popular in Asia for food use. Culantro has also applications in herbal medicine: as a tea for diarrhea, flu, fevers, vomiting, diabetes and constipation. Propagation: seeds. Grown in shady and moist spots, well drained soil. Can be planted in pots for indoor use in the cooler zones.
Erysimum, also known as the perennial Wallflower, provides a massive flush of colour from early in the year for a long period.
There is a wide range of flower colour in the warm spectrum, including white, yellow, orange, red, pink, maroon, purple and brown. The flowers, appearing in spring, usually have a strong fragrance. They are very easy to grow and are well suited to the beginner, producing masses of flowers for little effort and are not affected by many pests or diseases.
They are well suited to planting with a range of spring bulbs to provide a mass of colour in spring, but can also be planted with other spring shrubs and perennials.