Matthiola longipetala – Night Scented Stock
Scientific Name: Matthiola longipetala
Synonyms: Matthiola bicornis, M. longipetala ssp. bicornis
Common Names: Night Scented Stock, Evening Scented Stock, Evening Stock
Duration: Annual, Biennial
Growth Habit: Herb/Forb
Arizona Native Status: Introduced. This naturalized garden plant is native to Eurasia.
Habitat: Desert, Upland, Mountain. The attractive, but weedy wildflower grows in sunny, open, disturbed areas. In the desert, it's typically found in drainage areas and along roadsides in years with sufficient winter rains.
Flower Color: Lilac to purple, Magenta, White
Flowering Season: Winter, Spring
Height: To 2 feet (61 cm) tall
Description: The flowers are nocturnal, up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide, and have 4 long, slender petals that are paler near the base and have rippled margins. The flowers are followed by long, slender, horned siliques (seed capsules). The leaves are green, alternate, woolly-haired, linear, and variably pinnately lobed. The stems are green, covered with dense fuzz, and well-branched. The plants are a dense mound of branched stems and can be almost covered in flowers.
The similar Matthiola parviflora is a smaller plant with short racemes and smaller flowers with non-rippled petals, while Slimleaf Plainsmustard (Schoenocrambe linearifolia) has non-fragrant flowers and much narrower leaves, and Crossflower (Chorispora tenella) has unpleasant-smelling, glandular-hairy foliage.
Fragrant – The flowers open late in the day and release a strong, wonderfully sweet and spicy fragrance into the evening air. Seeds are widely commercially available if you want these plants for your scent garden, but the arrival of summer heat in the desert causes these cool season plants to quickly set seed and die.
Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Family: Brassicaceae – Mustard family
Genus: Matthiola W.T. Aiton – stock
Species: Matthiola longipetala (Vent.) DC. – night scented stock
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