Matthiola longipetala – Night Scented Stock

Matthiola longipetala - Night Scented Stock, Evening Scented Stock, Evening Stock

Matthiola longipetala - Night Scented Stock, Evening Scented Stock, Evening Stock

Plant Name

Scientific Name: Matthiola longipetala

Synonyms: Matthiola bicornis, M. longipetala ssp. bicornis

Common Names: Night Scented Stock, Evening Scented Stock, Evening Stock

Plant Characteristics

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.

Special Characteristics

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
Subclass: Dilleniidae
Order: Capparales
Family: Brassicaceae – Mustard family
Genus: Matthiola W.T. Aiton – stock
Species: Matthiola longipetala (Vent.) DC. – night scented stock

More About This Plant

Arizona County Distribution Map