Alyssum wulfenianum 'Golden Spring'
Common Name: madwort 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Brassicaceae
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 0.50 to 0.75 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Fragrant, Evergreen
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Drought, Dry Soil


Grows best when planted in full sun and in dry, porous/gritty soils that are well-drained. Plants should be cut back after flowering to maintain a compact habit. Easy to grow from seed, this plant may self-seed aggressively. It is very cold-tolerant but may do poorly in hot, humid summers. Drought tolerant once established.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Alyssum wulfenianum, commonly known as madwort, is native to the rocky mountainous areas of southeastern Europe. It is a spreading, low-growing plant that that is covered in clusters of bright yellow, four-petaled flowers in spring to early summer. It has semi-evergreen, grayish green leaves and grows ½ to ¾ in. tall and up to 1 ¾ in. wide.

Genus name comes from the Greek words a meaning not or against and lyssa meaning rage or madness in reference to the plant being used against madness and the bite of mad dogs.

Specific epithet honors Franz Xaver Freiherr von Wulfen (1728 – 1805), a botanist and Jesuit priest.

‘Golden Spring’ was bred by Troy Thorup of Ball Horticultural Company of West Chicago, Illinois. It is the result of an open pollination of a proprietary Alyssum wulfenianum selection as the seed parent and an unknown male parent. It is the first cultivar of the species and differs from the species in having larger and brighter flowers (⅓ in. wide versus ¼ in. wide). ‘Golden Spring’ forms a low mound of gray-green foliage that is evergreen in mild winter regions. It bears masses of bright yellow, four-petaled flowers in spring that are attractive to bees and butterflies. It grows ½ to ¾ ft. tall and 1 to 1 ½ ft. wide. This cultivar does not self seed. Plant patent number PP25710 applies to this cultivar.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Low growing and spreading perennial for borders, rock gardens, and as a ground cover.