In 1786, while living in Paris, Jefferson sent seed of this species to Francis Eppes in America, commenting that it was "a delicious flower, but I suspect it must be planted in boxes & kept in the house in the winter. the smell rewards the care." This flower was first discovered in Peru and brought to France sometime between 1735 and 1757 where it was a novelty much appreciated for its pleasant fragrance. It was likely not widely cultivated in America before 1800.
This plant is a garden annual with clusters of delicate, fragrant purple flowers fading to pale lavender in late spring through summer.
↑ This article is based on a Center for Historic Plants Information Sheet.