The Wallflower, or Handfiower (Cheiranthus cheiri), or
Wall-gilliflower, has been cultivated in this country almost from time
immemorial, for its fragrance and bright colouring. It is found wild
in France, Switzerland, and Spain, as the Keiri or Wallstock.
Formerly this flower was carried in the hand at classic festivals.
Herrick, in 1647, gave a more romantic origin to the name
Why this flower is now called so
List, sweet maids, and you shall know:
Understand this wilding was
Once a bright and bonny lad
 Who a sprightly springal loved,
And to have it fully proved
Up she got upon a wall
Tempting to slide down withal:
But the silken twist untied,
So she fell: and, bruised, she died.
Love, in pity of the deed,
And such luckless eager speed,
Turned her to this plant we call
Now the 'Floweret of the Wall.'
It is the only British species belonging to the Cruciferous order of
plants, and flourishes best on the walls of old buildings, flowering
nearly all the summer, though scantily supplied with moisture. We
may presume it was one of the earliest cultivated flowers in English
gardens, as it is discovered on the most ancient houses.
Turner, an early writer on Plants, calls it Wallgelouer, or
Hartisease; and by Spencer it was termed Cherisaunce, as
meaning a cordial to the heart, this being really the herb to which
the name Heart's-ease was originally given. By rustics it is known
also as the Beeflower.
But the common Stock likewise bore the appellation, Gilliflower:
and the probability is, there was in old days, as Cotgrave suggests, a
popular medicine or food for the passions of the heart, called
gariofile, from the cloves which it contained, the Latin for a clove
being caryophyllum. Hence it came about that the Wallflower, the
Pansy, and the Stock, by virtue of their cordial qualities, were alike
called Gilliflowers, or Heart's-ease.
There are two varieties of the cultivated Wallflower, the Yellow and
the Red; those of a deep colour growing on old rockeries and similar
places, are often termed  Bloody Warriors, and Bleeding Heart.
The double Wallflower has been produced for more than two
centuries. If the flowers are steeped in oil for some weeks, they
contribute thereto a stimulating warming property useful for friction
to limbs which are rheumatic, or neuralgic. Gerard suggests that the
oyle of Wallflowers is good for use to annoint a paralyticke. An
infusion of the flowers, made with boiling water, will relieve the
headache of debility, and is cordial in nervous disorders, by taking a
small wine-glassful immediately, and repeating it every half-hour
whilst required. The aromatic volatile principles of the flowers are
caryophyllin and eugenol. This Wallflower, adds Gerard,
and the Stock Gilliflower are used by certain empiricks and quack
salvers about love and lust,--matters which for modesty I omit.