Dame's Rocket

Fact SheetHesperis matronalis

Images of this species:

Common look-alikes:



Hesperis matronalis is a herbaceous, biennial forb that grows up to 4 feet in height. It may be included in native wildflower mix packets. Always check the list of species in wildflower mixes.


The alternate leaves are broadly lanceolate and sessile or born on short petioles. Leaves are 2-6 inches long and hairy.


The showy, fragrant flowers vary in color from white to purple or pink and develop in the late spring. Flowers develop in clusters on 3 foot tall stalks.


The siliques (long slender fruits) are 2-4 inches in length and contain a large number of seeds.


This species is considered a watch list species.


Native to Europe


Early successional forest, edge, floodplain forest, herbaceous wetland, open disturbed area, pasture,  roadside, wacant lot, wet meadow, yard or Garden. Hesperis matronalis is frequently found in riparian or wetland habitats, as well as rich open woods. It is also found along roads and in gardens, where it is still planted.

Life cycle

Dame’s rocket generally produces a basal rosette the first year and flowers the following year. The plants are prolific bloomers and produce large quantities of seed from May through July. Individual plants may have several clusters of flowers at various stages of development, enabling the plant to produce both flowers and seeds at the same time.

Ecological Threat

Many people mistakenly believe Hesperis matronalis is a native wildflower. It may be included in native wildflower mix packets. Always check the list of species in wildflower mixes. Habitats invaded by this plant include open woodlands, prairies, roadsides, ditches, and other disturbed areas where native plants are crowded out. Hesperis matronalis was introduced from Europe as an ornamental around the time of European settlement. It continues to be widely used as an ornamental and can be found throughout North America.These plants crowd out native vegetation with their great numbers of seeds.

Management Options

Mechanical Control

Pulling or use of a dandelion digger is most effective when the soil is moist is effective. Flowerheads should be bagged for landfill, or dried and burned where permissible. Where there is sufficient leaf litter or other fuel, burning has been found to be an effective control method.

Chemical Control

It can be effectively controlled using any of several readily available general use herbicides such as glyphosate. To avoid damaging adjacent native vegetation, apply herbicide in late fall when the rosettes are still green. Follow label and state requirements.

  • Be careful not to damage or kill nearby native plants when conducting management work.
  • Always read and follow pesticide label directions. Application of pesticides may require a certification from the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets. The Agency website provides information on what applicator certification is needed.



Photo Credit

5450195, 5450174, 5450136, 5450176, 5450133, Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org

1562035, 1562032, Mark Frey, The Presidio Trust , Bugwood.org

Information Credit 

Go Botany, Hesperis matronalis

Invasive Plant Atlas of New England

U.S. Forest Service 

Colorado Weed Management Association