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Shemhazai Library Content managed by our Librarian, member Damiane de Mereliot
Sweet Alyssum (lobularia maritim)
Folk Names: Alison, Madwort
Medicinal Uses: Thought to cure hydrophobia (rabies)
Powers: Protection, Moderating anger
Magical Uses: Used as an amulet to "expel charms." Hung in the house, it protects against fascination, a magical process known as "glamour." Alyssum can also cool down an angry person if put in the hand or on the body of the angry person.
General Description: Sweet Alyssum can come in either white or purple blooms, the more common of them being white. Alyssum is one of three flowers used in patriotic landscaping for their low to the ground quality and dense blooms, which allow for a more convincing look. The other plants used in patriotic landscaping are red salvia and blue ageratum. This is an easy plant to grow and is commonly used as a groundcover. Instead of "dead heading," cut plant down by half with a pair of scissors. Not only will this allow re-growth and remain healthier, but it will help to maintain the plant at a manageable height.
Yellow Alyssum (aurinia saxatilis)
These beautiful yellow flowers are used in borders and rock gardens. They prefer sun and thrive in well-drained, poor soil. They are drought-tolerant, so are great in dry states such as Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico. This variation was commonly called "madwort," the word "wort" simply meaning plant. Like sweet alyssum, the yellow alyssum was thought to cure hydrophobia.
Hoary Alyssum (berteroa incana )
Folk Names: Hoary Alison
This is a member of the mustard family and is a weed that is common throughout Minnesota, surrounding states and Canada. It has adapted to dry conditions such as sandy and/or gravely soils. This plant is a perennial and tends to increase in forages after a drought or winterkill, regardless of the soil type. This may be a beautiful plant, but it has its not-so-happy side. It is thought that the hoary alison plant is toxic in large amounts to horses. They either get it with their baled food or while grazing, though this is not a common occurrence.
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