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Featured Conservation Plants: May 2015

May 2015:
Erysimum ‘Bloody Warrior’

This very old Erysimum was introduced to the scheme in 2010 by the Norfolk & Suffolk Group. It is one of only two double-flowered varieties of perennial Erysimum (the other being E. ‘Harpur Crewe’). Wallflowers with both single and double yellow flowers were mentioned in Gerards Herball of 1597 and a double red type known as ‘Bloody Warrior’ supposedly originated around that time.

The plant, a member of the brassica family likes full sun and well-drained neutral to alkaline soil reflecting Aegean Mediterranean origins from where it was supposedly introduced to Northern Europe by the Romans. E. ‘Bloody Warrior’ is a short-lived perennial and as it tends to become rather woody and leggy is best renewed from cuttings every 2-3 years.

It is however worth the trouble for the double flowers which open with yellow tints, but darken to a deep red and are heavily scented. Flowers usually appear in April and May (sometimes earlier) and continue through early summer. It is best placed where there is some shelter from wind, both to appreciate the scent, and to protect the plant from blowing over. Average height is around 30-45cm and is best given a light clipping over after first flowering which may give a second flush. Propagate by cuttings in summer or autumn which should strike easily. It is fairly untroubled by pests and diseases.

Plants are just coming into flower in mid-April 2015 in Worcestershire. Although 3 suppliers are listed in the RHS Plant Finder 2014, there is only one nursery actually offering plants for sale.


The Conservation scheme involves HPS members in growing these plants and documenting the best way to grow and propagate them. The plants are distributed across the country with many local groups and individual growers being involved.

The scheme is open to all HPS members. More information about the scheme can be found here.

Since the present scheme started in 1998, we have been successful in conserving over 30 plant varieties that are, in our opinion, all worthy of being grown in British gardens. However, there are still a large number of potentially garden worthy plants in need of conservation.

If you are a interested in making this (or any other of our conservation plants) available on a commercial basis, please contact the National Coordinator.


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