Hesperis matronalis is a herbaceous, biennial forb that grows up to 4 ft. (1.2 m) 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 in. (5-15 cm) 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 ft. (1 m) tall stalks.
The siliques (long slender fruits) are 2-4 in. (5-10 cm) in length and contain a large number of seeds.
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.
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.
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.