Mignonettes

Weld Common Mignonette White Mignonette Common Mignonette

What are they?

The mignonettes are fairly easy plants to identify as a group, but a little trickier to sort out from each other. The flowers typically have four to six narrow sepals and the same number of small and rather inconspicuous, pale yellow or white, petals. The stamens are numerous and quite showy. Although the flowers are small, they appear in many-flowered spikes and each plant often has many spikes. The seed capsules are typically quite prominent and often winged.

Where are they found?

Most members of the family are found on disturbed ground such as arable farmland and in gardens or allotments. Common Mignonette is a plant of grassy places on light, usually chalky soils.

Identification

The two common species (Weld and Common Mignonette) are easily told apart by the shape of the flower spike and of the leaves. The other species are all much rarer but can typically be identified by flower detail and leaves.



Weld      Reseda luteola

Native or an ancient introduction. Very common throughout much of the region, but avoiding the heavier soils of the boulder clay and the wetter fenland soils. Flowers June to August. Upright plants with long slender spikes crowded with yellow flowers. Leaves simple, elongate and with wavy margins.

Weld Weld Weld Weld
Habit
Flowers
Leaf
Stem


Common Mignonette      Reseda lutea

Native or an ancient introduction. Very common on areas where sand lies over chalk in Breckland, but also frequent on light soils in coastal regions and south of Norwich. Flowers June to August. More spreading and less upright than Weld with shorter, broader spikes crowded with pale yellow flowers. Leaves irregularly pinnate with very variable sized leaflets.

Common Mignonette Common Mignonette Common Mignonette Common Mignonette
Habit
Flowers
Leaf
Seed capsules


White Mignonette      Reseda alba

Introduced from southern Europe. A rare casual with a handful of records from the region but typically annual and not becoming established. Flowers June to August. Flowers very similar to Common Mignonette but with white petals, fading to cream. Leaves regularly pinnate.

White Mignonette White Mignonette White Mignonette White Mignonette
Habit
Flowers
Leaf
Seed capsules


Scented Mignonette      Reseda odorata

Introduced from southern Europe. A rare casual as a garden escape in the past but seems not to be popular now and probably no longer occurs in the region. Flowers June to August. Flowers with cream-coloured petals and orange to pinkish-brown stamens; fragrant. Leaves mostly simple, but some upper leaves may have a pair of side lobes towards the tip.

Scented Mignonette Scented Mignonette
Flowers
Seed capsule