Herb: Wallflower

Latin name: Erysimum cheiri

Synonyms: Cheiranthus cheiri

Family: Cruciferae

Medicinal use of Wallflower:

Wallflower was formerly used mainly as a diuretic and emmenagogue but recent research has shown that it is more valuable for its effect on the heart. In small doses it is a cardiotonic, supporting a failing heart in a similar manner to foxglove (Digitalis purpurea). In more than small doses, however, it is toxic and so is seldom used in herbal medicine. The flowers and stems are antirheumatic, antispasmodic, cardiotonic, emmenagogue, nervine, purgative and resolvent. They are used in the treatment of impotence and paralysis. The essential oil is normally used. This should be used with caution because large doses are toxic. The plant contains the chemical compound cheiranthin which has a stronger cardiotonic action than digitalis (obtained from Digitalis species). If taken in large doses this is very poisonous and so this plant should not be used medicinally without expert supervision. The seeds are aphrodisiac, diuretic, expectorant, stomachic and tonic. They are used in the treatment of dry bronchitis, fevers and injuries to the eyes.

Description of the plant:


50 cm
(1 foot)

to June


Habitat of the herb:

Walls, cliffs and rocks, often near the sea in Britain.

Other uses of Wallflower:

The flowers contain 0.06% essential oil. It has a pleasing aroma if diluted and is used in perfumery. The seed contains about 20% fixed oil, but no details of any uses are given.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - sow spring in an outdoor seedbed. Germination should take place within 3 weeks. Plant the seedlings into their permanent positions when they are large enough to handle. If seed is in short supply, it can be sown in spring in pots in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in early summer.

Cultivation of Wallflower:

Walls, cliffs and rocks, often near the sea in Britain.

Known hazards of Erysimum cheiri:

The plant is said to be poisonous if used in large quantities.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.