Dame’s Rocket Not Native to America

Dame’s Rocket is all but done blooming for this year. Even though it’s an invasive plant I admit I still enjoy seeing it in bloom.

Just yesterday we saw a few plants still holding on to their flowers while on a drive in the Allegheny Mountains of Central Pennsylvania.

Some of the most common plants we see today came from afar and that is the case with Dame’s Rocket, Hesperis matronalis. It is original to Asia and Europe and was supposedly brought to America back in colonial times as a garden plant. I can see why – the deep purple, pink or white flowers are real pretty flowering along Pennsylvania roads in late May.

Dame's Rocket Blooming in Purple
Dame’s Rocket Blooming in Purple

Dame’s Rocket has had a few hundred years to spread out in America, so we’re sure it’s here to stay.

Dame's Rocket Makes for a Stunning Garden Plant
Dame’s Rocket Makes for a Stunning Garden Plant
Dame's Rocket Blooms in Purple, Pink or White
Dame’s Rocket Blooms in Purple, Pink or White

Where you see Dame’s Rocket you’re likely to see a whole lot of it. It’s an invasive plant that can take over areas and prevent native plants from growing. At three feet tall it’s pretty tall for an herb so it will shade out and crowd out other smaller plants.

Mustard family traits can be seen in the photos of four-petaled flowers aging into upright seed pods.

Dame's Rocket Blooming in White
Seedpods develop from the bottom up in this white-blooming Dame’s Rocket

Manual pulling up of the whole plant will probably be enough to keep populations of Dame’s Rocket in check. This shallow-rooted perennial can easily be pulled out with most of its roots, especially after a soaking rain.

If you can yank them out before the plants flower, you’ll take out a huge number of seeds before they can be added to the seed bank. That way, the next year’s growth will be way diminished. Complete eradication from an area may take several years due to all those seeds from prior years.

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