stock, in botany, common name for any species of the genus Matthiola, for Malcomia maritima (Virginia stock), and for the wallflower, all belonging to the family Cruciferae (mustard family), and for a carnation of the family Caryophyllaceae (pink family). Most are herbs indigenous to the Mediterranean region and to S Africa. A few are widely cultivated, both in greenhouses and in gardens, for the fragrant blossoms—usually purplish in the wild but of various colors in horticultural types. The evening stock, or perfume plant ( Matthiola bicornis ), is night-blooming; the Brampton stock, or gillyflower ( M. incana ), has an early blooming variety ( annua ), known as ten-weeks-stock or cut-and-come-again, which is sometimes grown as a house plant. The name gillyflower is also used for the Virginia stock, the wallflower, and for the carnation of the pink family. Stock is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Capparales, family Cruciferae; and order Caryophyllales, family Caryophyllaceae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.