Invasive and non-native species were introduced for a variety of reasons. Some hitched a ride and were accidentally introduced. Some were brought along and planted for their medicinal qualities. Others, like Dame’s Rocket (Hesperis matronalis L.), were brought to North America as ornamentals.
It is hard to miss the vibrant purple flowers (they can sometimes be white) especially since they’re one of the first to flower each spring, but this mustard species is a prolific seed producer and can quickly take over an area squeezing out native species.
Dame’s rocket typically grows to 2 to 3 feet in height, but it can occasionally reach 4 feet tall. The leaves are oblong and are sharply toothed. They are alternately arranged on the stem with larger leaves toward the bottom of the plant and decrease in size toward the top. Dame’s rocket produces loose clusters of 4 petaled flowers.
When soil is moist in the spring, Dame’s rocket can be easily hand pulled. Large infestations can be chemically treated.
Looking for a vibrant replacement for Dame’s rocket?
- Blue flax