alyssum

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alyssum (əlĬs´əm), any species of the genus Alyssum of the family Cruciferae (mustard family), annual and perennial herbs native to the Mediterranean area. A few species, notably the perennial golden tuft (A. saxatile), are cultivated as rock-garden or border ornamentals for their masses of yellow or white flowers. The annual sweet alyssum (called A. maritima but separated by most botanists as Lobularia maritima) is a similar plant with fragrant white or lilac blossoms. The alyssums have been called madwort or heal-bite because of an old belief that they cured rabies. Alyssum is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Capparales, family Cruciferae.

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silicula A type of capsule formed from a bicarpellary ovary. It is longitudinally flattened and divided lengthwise into two cavities (loculi). It is broader than a siliqua. Examples include the fruits of Alyssum and candytuft.

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a·lys·sum / əˈlisəm/ • n. a widely cultivated plant (genera Alyssum and Lobularia) of the cabbage family that bears small flowers in a range of colors, typically white, yellow, or violet.