Iberis, also known as Candytuft, is a genus of about 50 species in the family Brassicaceae, native to Asia and Europe with many of the species native to the Mediterranean region.
Iberis has dark green leaves and racemes of small, but showy flowers. These low growing plants are often grown as a ground cover or as edging along pathways.
The genus name comes from the Roman name for ancient Spain – Iberia.
The common name “Candytuft” has nothing to do with sweets. It originates from the word “Candia”, which was the ancient name for the island of Crete, where it was found to grow. “Tuft” may refer to clusters of flowers.
Iberis represents indifference.
It can also symbolize sweetness and beauty.
Interesting facts about Iberis:
The History of Iberis
The plant was brought to England from Crete in the 16th century and it was first cultivated in England in Elizabethan times.
Benefits and Uses
Iberis was used as a remedy for many ailments including rheumatism, lung problems, gastrointestinal upsets, stomach problems and even arthritis.
Today, herbalist agree that it’s helpful for cardiac hypertrophy, gout, asthma and nervousness.
The flowers and leaves are said to be edible and can be eaten raw, while seeds are sometimes used as a source of mustard.
Annuals, Perennials, Shrubs
The flowers are usually white, but can also be pink or lilac.
The plant can reach a height between 15 cm (6 inches) and 30cm (1 ft).
Iberis likes rich, moist and well drained soil. Some species can grow in nutritionally poor soil.