WILD CANDYTUFT

Iberis amara

Cabbage Family [Brassicaceae]

month8may month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug

status
statusZnative
 
flower
flower8bicolour
 
flower
flower8white
petals
flower
flower8purple
sepals
inner
inner8yellow
 
morph
morph8zygo
 
petals
petalsZ4
 
type
typeZspiked
 
stem
stem8round
 
toxicity
toxicityZlowish
 
rarity
rarityZscarce
 
sex
sexZbisexual
 

17th July 2017, Chalk Pit, Sonning, Oxfordshire. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
An annual plant growing to 35cm high


17th July 2017, Chalk Pit, Sonning, Oxfordshire. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
The tallest might even be more than 35cm. It is branched with narrow leaves.


15th Sept 2012, Watlington Hill, Oxfordshire. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Renee Grayer
The inflorescence crowns the summit of the plant.


15th Sept 2012, Watlington Hill, Oxfordshire. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Renee Grayer
The flowers are zygomorphic; the lowest flowers much more so than those near the top. They have a pair of short petals and an outer pair of longer petals immediately opposite them. Flowers 6 to 8mm across.


17th July 2017, Chalk Pit, Sonning, Oxfordshire. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
The petals at the top are not as zygomorphic as those lower down.


17th July 2017, Chalk Pit, Sonning, Oxfordshire. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
The petals can be white or mauve. The mauve objects here are the sepals. The flowers lower down have turned to fruit, which are flattened round with the style, now brown, still at the end of the fruit.


17th July 2017, Chalk Pit, Sonning, Oxfordshire. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
Some of the leaves are shaped like narrow shoe-horns, apart from the few teeth along the edge nearer the end of the leaf. There is no basal rosette of leaves on Wild Candytuft (those a lime-green mosses).


17th July 2017, Chalk Pit, Sonning, Oxfordshire. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
The fruits are flat, 4 to 6mm across and are edged with 'wings'.


17th July 2017, Chalk Pit, Sonning, Oxfordshire. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
The style is visiblly making a brown bulge as it goes through the length of the fruit, to emerge at the end as a style. The 4 mauve cup-shaped objects are the sepals, which are between 2 and 4 times shorter than the petals, very few of which have survived on this now fruiting specimen.


Many similarities to : Perennial Candytuft (Iberis sempervirens) and Garden Candytuft (Iberis umbellata) which belong in the same family, the latter of which can often be mistaken for Wild Candytuft.

Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature :

No relation to : Tufted Vetch (Vicia cracca), Tufted Saxifrage (Saxifraga cespitosa), Tufted Forget-me-not (Myosotis laxa), Tufted Loosestrife (Lysimachia thyrsiflora), Tufted Hair-grass (Deschampsia cespitosa) nor with Tufted Sedge (Carex elata) [plants with similar names belonging to differing families].

It is native, fairly rare, grows on bare calcareous hillsides, near rabbit holes, or on the edges of arable fields in sparsely grassy or bare places. Mostly grows in the Chilterns.

Wild Candytuft contains several secondary metabolites which are Mustard-oil Glycosides, Cucurbaticines and FlavonoGlycosides. It also contains Amines.


  Iberis amara  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Brassicaceae  

Distribution
 family8Cabbage family8Brassicaceae
 BSBI maps
genus8Iberis
Iberis
(Candytufts)

WILD CANDYTUFT

Iberis amara

Cabbage Family [Brassicaceae]