Pink or Purple Brassicas

Virginia Stock Aubretia Annual Honesty Cuckooflower

What are they?

This is a very mixed bunch of plants in the brassicaceae - the mustard or cabbage family. They all have flowers that are pink, mauve, purplish or violet, while most members of the family have white or yellow flowers. Some of these plants also occur in white-flowered forms and the two colours may often be found growing together.

Where are they found?

This mixed group of plants mostly consists of species that originated as garden plants. As such, they are typically found in disturbed or human-influenced places such as hedgerows, roadsides, waste ground and similar places. However, this is a varied bunch and you should read the habitat choices for each species, as these will often help you towards a successful identification.

Identification

Flower colour and precise petal shape will help narrow your search. If present, seed pods will be invaluable, otherwise check leaf shape and read the notes on overall size and behaviour of plant (upright or trailing etc), as well as habitat type.



Cuckooflower      Cardamine pratensis

The only native species on this page and found typically in wet grassland or marshy places. Flowers April to May. Paler pink flowers than other species on this page. Basal leaves compound with broad, rounded leaflets, stem leaves with narrow, linear leaflets.

Cuckooflower Cuckooflower Cuckooflower Cuckooflower
Habit
Flowers
Flower
Basal leaf


Common Radish      Raphanus sativus

Introduced. Occasionally grown as an arable cover crop in a mixture with other brassicas and sometimes found as a relic of cultivation along field edges. Flowers throughout much of the year, depending on sowing time. Flowers often whitish with reddish veins, but the pink, red or purple colour can extend variably across much of the petal. Basal leaves rough with coarse, uneven lobes. Seed pod more or less rounded with a smooth outline, showing little or no constriction between the seeds.

Common Radish Common Radish Common Radish Common Radish
Flowers
Flower
Basal leaf
Seed pod


Annual Honesty      Lunaria annua

Introduced. A popular garden plant and often escaping into rough, grassy areas and roadsides. Flowers April to May. Flowers may be rich, pinkish-purple or white, with the two colours often (though not always) growing together. Leaves broadly triangular with a rounded base and strongly toothed edges. Seed pods are flat, rounded discs which, when completely dried and after the seeds have gone, are popular for flower-arranging or Christmas decoration.

Annual Honesty Annual Honesty Annual Honesty Annual Honesty
Habit
Habit
Basal leaf
Seed pods


Common Dame's-violet      Hesperis matronalis

Introduced as a garden plant and occasionally escaping into rough, grassy areas and roadsides, though much less common than the similar Annual Honesty. Flowers May to July. Flowers heavily scented, mauve or white, with the two colours rarely growing together. Leaves spear-shaped with lightly toothed edges. Seed pods long, thin and held erect.

Common Dame's-violet Common Dame's-violet Common Dame's-violet Common Dame's-violet
Habit
White form
Leaf
Seed pods


Aubretia      Aubrieta deltoidea

Introduced as a garden plant and occasionally escaping into neighbouring areas. A trailing plant, most often seen growing on vertical walls or steep banks. Flowers March to July. Flowers may be any shade of pink, reddish-purple or bluish purple, or occasionally white. Leaves greyish-green with pointed tips, star-shaped hairs and two to three strong teeth along each side. Seed pods short and fat, roughly hairy with star-shaped hairs.

Aubretia Aubretia Aubretia Aubretia
Habit
Flower
Leaves
Seed pod


Virginia Stock      Malcolmia maritima

Introduced as a garden annual and rarely found as a pavement weed or on waste ground and old borders. Flowers May to October or later if mild. Flowers pink with a paler centre. Leaves greyish-green with star-shaped hairs, rounded tips and a few, very weak teeth along each side. Seed pods long, thin and wiry.

Virginia Stock Virginia Stock Virginia Stock Virginia Stock
Habit
Flower
Leaves
Seed pod


Globe Candytuft      Iberis umbellata

Introduced as a garden annual and rarely found as a pavement weed or on waste ground and old borders. Flowers May to October. Flowers various shades of pink or purple, occasionally white. Seedpods are distinctive with a two pronged tip and a long spike between the prongs, the latter the remants of the style. The pods are carried in neat, globular heads. The assymetrical flowers with two small petals and two larger ones are unique in this group, but white-flowered specimens should be carriedcarefully with the other, white-flowered, candytufts.

Globe Candytuft Globe Candytuft Globe Candytuft
Flowers
Flowers
Seed pod