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(mignonette), a genus of herbaceous plants of the family Resedaceae. The leaves are alternate, entire, and pinna-tifid or pinnatisect. The flowers, which are small, bisexual, and irregular, are in terminal racemes or spikes. The petals are white, yellow, or greenish yellow. The ovary is superior and has three or four carpels. The fruit is a capsule, with many small seeds.
There are 50 to 60 species of mignonette, distributed primarily in the Mediterranean countries and eastward to East Africa and India. Several species grow in Europe below 60°N lat. The USSR has approximately ten species, growing mainly in Middle Asia and the Caucasus. A few species are found in the European USSR, and one species grows in Western Siberia. The plants thrive on dry hills and slopes and on rocky soils and limestones; some grow as weeds among crops and in wastelands. Common mignonette (R. odoratum), which has fragrant white flowers, is cultivated in gardens and sometimes grows wild. The aboveground organs of some species, for example, R. lutea, contain a yellow pigment that is used as dye.
M. E. KIRPICHNIKOV