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Berteroa incana

Berteroa incana (L.) DC.

Alyssum incanum L.

Hoary Alyssum, Hoary Alison, Hoary False Alyssum, Sandvita, Hoary Asylum

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae (from Stearn’s Botanical Latin)
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassRosidaeRoses, legumes, proteas, dogwoods, hydrangeas, mistletoes, euphorbias, grapes, many more
OrderBrassicalesMustard, cabbage, caper, papaya, nasturtiums, many others; most produce mustard oil
FamilyBrassicaceaeMustards, cabbages
GenusBerteroaNamed for Chilean-Italian botanist Carlo Guiseppe Bertero
Speciesincana“Gray”

About plant names...

Hoary alyssum is native to Asia and parts of Europe, but it has become naturalized in North America and other areas in Europe. It is now widespread, and often considered to be an invasive. It is a member of the mustard family. Bees, who, unlike us, can see ultraviolet light, have probably noticed that hoary alyssum buds glow in ultraviolet light. Curiously, it is the buds, not the flowers.

Identification: Hoary alyssum creates a loose tangle of stems lined with small grasslike leaves near the base, fruits along the upper portion, and a small cluster of white flowers on the top. Stems may reach up to 3' (1 m) in length, and are rarely branched. Leaves are alternate, 1¾-3" (5-8 cm) × ⅜" (1 cm), narrowly rounded at the tips. Flowerheads are composed of many small flowers. Each flower contains four petals, but they are so deeply notched that they appear to be eight petals. Petals are ⅛-¼" (5-7 mm) long, with thick yellow-green stamens. Fruits are tiny ovals, or cylinders with rounded ends, ⅛" (3.2 mm) long, with sharp tips. Fruits are on short stems less than ¼" (6.3 mm) long, oriented along the direction of growth.

Edibility: Poisonous Skull & Crossbones Well, poisonous if you are a horse, anyway. About half of the horses that eat this plant react with swelling, fever, elevated heart rate, and rarely death. Other serious symptoms have been reported. I couldn’t find specific information about toxicity to people, but I’m not about to sample it.

Online References:

Berteroa incana on Missouriplants.com

Berteroa incana on SEINet—the Southwest Environmental Information Network

Berteroa incana at Minnesota Wildflowers

Berteroa incana at the Penn Veterinary Medicine Computer Aided Learning site

Berteroa incana on the University of Massachusetts Landscape, Nursery & Urban Forestry Program

Berteroa incana (Hoary Alyssum, Hoary Alison, Hoary False Alyssum, Sandvita, Hoary Asylum)

8/4/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 5 × 3½" (12 × 9.1 cm) ID is uncertain

Berteroa incana (Hoary Alyssum, Hoary Alison, Hoary False Alyssum, Sandvita, Hoary Asylum)

6/20/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 9 × 6" (22 × 14 cm)

Berteroa incana (Hoary Alyssum, Hoary Alison, Hoary False Alyssum, Sandvita, Hoary Asylum)

6/12/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, East Pepperell, MA
≈ 4½ × 3" (11 × 7.5 cm) ID is uncertain

Berteroa incana (Hoary Alyssum, Hoary Alison, Hoary False Alyssum, Sandvita, Hoary Asylum)

5/9/2010 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 10 × 15" (26 × 39 cm) ID is uncertain

Berteroa incana (Hoary Alyssum, Hoary Alison, Hoary False Alyssum, Sandvita, Hoary Asylum)

6/3/2016 · Nashua River Rail Trail, East Pepperell ID is uncertain

Berteroa incana (Hoary Alyssum, Hoary Alison, Hoary False Alyssum, Sandvita, Hoary Asylum)

5/9/2010 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 14 × 9" (35 × 23 cm) ID is uncertain

Berteroa incana (Hoary Alyssum, Hoary Alison, Hoary False Alyssum, Sandvita, Hoary Asylum)

8/4/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 3½ × 2½" (9.2 × 6.9 cm) ID is uncertain

Berteroa incana description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 17 Jun 2016.

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Berteroa incana (Hoary Alyssum, Hoary Alison, Hoary False Alyssum, Sandvita, Hoary Asylum)

7/12/2013 · Wooden Bridge, East Pepperell, MA
≈ 3½ × 2½" (9.6 × 7.3 cm)

Berteroa incana (Hoary Alyssum, Hoary Alison, Hoary False Alyssum, Sandvita, Hoary Asylum)

8/5/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, East Pepperell, MA
≈ 12 × 8" (31 × 20 cm) ID is uncertain

Berteroa incana (Hoary Alyssum, Hoary Alison, Hoary False Alyssum, Sandvita, Hoary Asylum)

6/3/2016 · Nashua River Rail Trail, East Pepperell ID is uncertain

Berteroa incana (Hoary Alyssum, Hoary Alison, Hoary False Alyssum, Sandvita, Hoary Asylum)

6/12/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, East Pepperell, MA
≈ 4½ × 7" (11 × 17 cm) ID is uncertain

Berteroa incana (Hoary Alyssum, Hoary Alison, Hoary False Alyssum, Sandvita, Hoary Asylum)

6/3/2016 · Nashua River Rail Trail, East Pepperell ID is uncertain

Berteroa incana (Hoary Alyssum, Hoary Alison, Hoary False Alyssum, Sandvita, Hoary Asylum)

6/12/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, East Pepperell, MA
≈ 2 × 2" (5.5 × 5.3 cm) ID is uncertain

Berteroa incana (Hoary Alyssum, Hoary Alison, Hoary False Alyssum, Sandvita, Hoary Asylum)

6/20/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 9 × 6" (23 × 15 cm)

Berteroa incana (Hoary Alyssum, Hoary Alison, Hoary False Alyssum, Sandvita, Hoary Asylum)

8/4/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 5 × 3½" (12 × 9 cm) ID is uncertain

Berteroa incana (Hoary Alyssum, Hoary Alison, Hoary False Alyssum, Sandvita, Hoary Asylum)

6/12/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, East Pepperell, MA
≈ 10 × 7" (25 × 16 cm) ID is uncertain

Berteroa incana (Hoary Alyssum, Hoary Alison, Hoary False Alyssum, Sandvita, Hoary Asylum)

8/4/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 6 × 6" (14 × 15 cm) ID is uncertain

Range:

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