Got Dame’s Rocket?

So many of the plants we love to hate found their way to this continent via horticulture. There is no telling how species from elsewhere in the world are going to behave when they reach new lands, free of competition and predation. Dame’s rocket (Hesperis matronalis) is starting to look like one of those species we must be wary of. Seeds of this showy, fragrant mustard are commonly sold in wildflower mixes here in the US, despite the fact it is from Eurasia. The problem with dame’s rocket is that it doesn’t like to stay in place. It quickly escapes into new areas. Most commonly encountered on roadsides and trails, it is beginning to be found in great numbers in interior forests as well. The problem with the plant is that infestations can reach astronomical numbers in a short period of time. A thick monoculture of dame’s rocket quickly outcompetes native vegetation to the point where nothing else can grow. The flowers vary in color from a deep lavender to completely white. Some are even a mixture of the two. It is sometimes confused with Wild Blue Pholx (Phlox divaricata – also pictured here) but a close inspection will reveal some stark differences. For starters, dame’s rocket is a mustard and thus has only 4 petals. Wild Blue Phlox has 5. Dame’s rocket is also a much more robust plant, whereas wild blue phlox is more slender in appearance. The good news about dame’s rocket is that we are at the early stages of invasion. With a watchful eye and some elbow grease, infestations can quickly be dealt with

.10344782_10154186047800268_9074282390185710216_n 10268554_10154186047885268_6090013379241326487_n 10309526_10154186047945268_6150773625460900088_n Sdy3QHQZHQ3vCuQasdRDz151HyvoxKxM_Pk-_3-3HAs

Advertisements
Standard

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s