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Hort in the Home Landscape

A blog devoted to sharing timely horticulture topics and answering the questions of gardeners and homeowners.
2013-05-29 09 18 41
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Dame's Rocket

Plant of the Week!

This week's plant may look pretty, but it's actually on the Illinois invasive plants list (

Dame's Rocket (Hesperis matronalis) grows to 1.5-3 feet in height and has lovely pink, magenta, or white flowers in large loose, fragrant clusters with four petals that bloom May to June.

Some may confuse dame's rocket with garden phlox (Phlox paniculata) which looks quite similar. Simply count the petals though. Being a member of the Brassicaceae family, dame's rocket has 4 petals, while garden phlox will have 5 petals.

According to the USDA Forest Service, Dame's rocket grows in moist woodlands, woodland edges, roadsides, railroad right-of-ways, disturbed sites, waste ground, thickets, and open areas. This time of year you'll easy see the bright flowers as you're driving along the highway.

Although this plant may look pretty in your yard, it is important to remove this species from the landscape. These plants can crowd out our native vegetation with their great numbers of seeds.Locating and removing plants immediately before seed sets is the best way to prevent the spread of dame's rocket.

Plants can be pulled manually when the soil is moist, or chemical control can be effective with a variety of herbicides.

This plant is also commonly included in "native" wildflower seed mixes so be sure to buy a mix without this seed included. It will easily take over any other natives that are in the mix.

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