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Alyssum simplex
Alyssum simplex. Synonyms: Alyssum parviflorum, Alyssum minus. (Wild Alyssum, Madwort).
Brassicaceae (Mustard Family)

Foothills. Disturbed areas, fields. Spring.
Near Yellow Jacket Canyon, April 15, 2005.

Wild Alyssum is a very common introduced species that carpets large areas of fields and roadsides in the very early spring. Its stems are straight, flowers are tiny and bright yellow, and its seeds are flattened, round, and hairy.

A great many plants were eaten, used medicinally, or used for clothing, fuel, and building by humans who populated the earth before supermarkets and Home Depots. Wild Alyssum’s scientific name refers to its past use as a supposed cure for rabies: from the Greek "a" ("without") "lyssum" ("madness").  "Parviflorum" is Latin for "small flower". "Simplex" is Latin for "simple", in the sense of "unbranched".

Linnaeus named the Alyssum genus in 1753. In 1756 he named this species Clypeola minor. The name was changed to Alyssum parviflorum in 1819 by Friedrich Fischer and to Alyssum minus in 1941 by Werner Rothmaler. The Synthesis of the North American Flora now accepts Alyssum simplex, given around 1800 by Karl Rudolphi.

Alyssum simplex
Alyssum simplex. Synonyms: Alyssum parviflorum, Alyssum minus. (Wild Alyssum, Madwort).
Brassicaceae (Mustard Family)

Foothills. Disturbed areas, fields. Spring.
Near Yellow Jacket Canyon, April 15, 2005.

Alyssum simplex

Alyssum simplex

Alyssum simplex. Synonyms: Alyssum parviflorum, Alyssum minus. (Wild Alyssum, Madwort).
Brassicaceae (Mustard Family)

Foothills. Disturbed areas, fields. Spring.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, April 8, 2010 and Carpenter Natural Area, Cortez, April 20, 2005.

A myriad of tiny, round, yellow/green seeds on an elongated stalk, follow the flowers of Alyssum simplex.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Alyssum simplex