Hesperis matronalis

Common Names: Dame's rocket, damask violet, dame's-violet, dames-wort, dame's gilliflower, night-scented gilliflower, queen's gilliflower, rogue's gilliflower, summer lilac, sweet rocket, mother-of-the-evening, winter gilliflower
Category: Plants
Sub-category: Mustard family

Dame's Rocket was brought to North America in the 17th century and has since become naturalized. Grows 100 cm or taller, with multiple upright, hairy stems. The leaves are alternately arranged on upright stems and lanceolate-shaped; they typically have very short or lack petioles and have toothed margins, but sometimes are entire and are widest at the base. The foliage has short hairs on the top and bottom surfaces that give the leaves a somewhat rough feel. The larger leaves are around 12 cm long and over 4 cm wide. The plentiful, fragrant flowers are produced in large, showy, terminal racemes that can be 30+ cm tall and elongate as the flowers of the inflorescence bloom. Each flower is about 2 cm across, with four petals. Flower coloration varies, with different shades of lavender and purple most common, but white, pink, and even some flowers with mixed colors exist in cultivated forms. The four petals are clawed and hairless. The flowers have six stamens in two groups, the four closest to the ovary are longer than the two oppositely positioned. Stigmas are two-lobed. The four sepals are erect and form a mock tube around the claws of the petals and are also colored similarly to the petals.

Commonly found in roadside ditches, dumps and in open woodland settings. Blooms in early to mid spring with some plants as late as August.

It is an invasive and banned species in Connecticut. e.g. illegal to move, sell, purchase, transplant, cultivate, or distribute.

Edible Notes: The plant and flowers are edible, but fairly bitter. Not generally recommended.
Warnings: Not known to be dangerous.
Sightings