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mignonette (mĭnˌyənĕtˈ) [key], common name for some members of the Resedaceae, a small family of herbs and a few shrubs inhabiting arid regions. The main genus, the mignonettes (genus Reseda ), chiefly of the Mediterranean area, has several species naturalized to waste places of the United States, e.g., the dyer's-weed ( R. luteola ), which has been a source of a yellow dye since Neolithic times. A few species are cultivated for their fragrant flowers, e.g., the common mignonette ( R. odorata ), formerly highly valued in perfumery for its essential oils. The mignonette family is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Capparales.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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