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Overview

Brief Summary

History in the United States

Dame’s rocket, also known as dame’s violet and mother-of-the-evening, was introduced 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.

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Comprehensive Description

Description

This introduced plant is a biennial or short-lived perennial that is sparingly branched, except where the racemes of flowers occur. It is normally erect and about 2–3½' tall. The stems are round and pubescent. The alternate leaves are up to 6" long and 2" across. They are lanceolate, pubescent, and dentate with widely spaced teeth along the margins. The lower leaves usually have short petioles, while the upper leaves are sessile and slightly smaller in size. The base of each leaf is well-rounded or wedge-shaped, but never cordate. The upper stems terminate in racemes of flowers about 6-18" long. Each flower is about ¾–1" across and long, consisting of 4 rounded petals, 4 linear-lanceolate sepals, several stamens, and a pistil. The petals are bright purplish pink fading to pink or nearly white. The sepals are pinkish green and pubescent. The calyx is cylindrical in shape and has only a narrow opening at the throat of the flower. The pedicels are pubescent and up to 1" long. The blooming period occurs from late spring to mid-summer and lasts about 1–1½ months. There is a pleasant floral scent that reportedly becomes stronger at night. The flowers are replaced by ascending siliques (narrowly cylindrical seedpods) that are about 1½-4" long at maturity. These siliques are slightly pubescent and several-seeded. The seeds are somewhat flattened and ellipsoid-oblongoid in shape. The root system consists of a taproot and coarse secondary roots. Cultivation
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Distribution

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Dame's Rocket is an occasional plant that occurs in NE Illinois and scattered counties elsewhere (see Distribution Map). It was introduced from Europe as an ornamental plant and has been grown in gardens since the Roman Empire. Habitats include moist meadows, woodland edges and openings, thickets, semi-shaded fence rows, banks of drainage ditches, vacant lots, edges of yards, and flower gardens. Dame's Rocket is still cultivated as an ornamental plant, even though it invades natural habitats that are partially shaded. Faunal Associations
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Distribution and Habitat in the United States

Habitats invaded include open woodlands, prairies, roadsides, ditches, and other disturbed areas.

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Origin

Europe

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Distribution: Europe, C. and W. Asia.
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© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description and Biology

  • Plant: herbaceous, biennial forb up to 4 ft. in height.
  • Leaves: alternate, hairy, broadly lanceolate with toothed margins, sessile or nearly so, 2-6 in. long.
  • Flowers, fruits and seeds: flowers showy, fragrant, white to purple or pink with 4 petals in a cross; late spring; fruits slender, cylindrical and arch upwards.
  • Spreads: by seed.
  • Look-alikes: might be confused with wild blue phlox (Phlox divaricata), fall phlox (Phlox paniculata) and non-native annual honesty (Lunaria annua).

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Description

A tall, biennial herb, 40-100 cm tall, sparsely branched above, erect, leafy with cauline leaves not amplexicaul, large, dentate. Racemes 20-30-flowered, up to 20 cm long in fruit. Flowers c. 15 mm across, handsome, white, lilac or violet. Sepals 6-8 mm long. Petals 15-20 mm long, c. 2.5 (-3) mm broad, sparsely and inconspicuously glandular. Stamens c. 6: 8 mm long; anthers c. 2.5 mm long. Siliquae (3-) 5-9 cm long, c. 3 mm broad, glabrous, sparsely or inconspicuously glandular, subtorulose; valves rigid with a distinct mid-vein and a few other parallel veins; seeds c. 3 mm long.
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Description

Herbs biennial or rarely perennial, 40-80(-110) cm tall, pubescent with simple and forked trichomes. Stems erect, simple basally, often branched above, eglandular and often glabrous distally. Basal leaves withered by flowering. Middle and upper cauline leaves narrowly oblong, lanceolate, or broadly ovate, (2-)4-15(-20) × (0.4-)0.8-4(-6) cm, shortly petiolate, pubescent with simple and forked trichomes, base cuneate, margin denticulate or entire, apex acute or acuminate. Fruiting pedicels divaricate or ascending, (0.5-)0.7-1.7(-2.5) cm, eglandular. Sepals narrowly oblong, 5-8 × 1.5-2 mm. Petals deep purple, lavender, or white, obovate, (1.1-)1.5-2(-2.2) cm × 3.5-9 mm, apex rounded; claw 6-12 mm. Filaments 2.5-6 mm; anthers linear, 2.5-4 mm. Fruit terete, (4-)6-10(-14) cm × 2-2.5 mm; valves glabrous, constricted between seeds. Seeds oblong, (2.5-)3-4 × 1-1.5 mm. Fl. and fr. May-Sep. 2n = 24.
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© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA

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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Dame's Rocket is an occasional plant that occurs in NE Illinois and scattered counties elsewhere (see Distribution Map). It was introduced from Europe as an ornamental plant and has been grown in gardens since the Roman Empire. Habitats include moist meadows, woodland edges and openings, thickets, semi-shaded fence rows, banks of drainage ditches, vacant lots, edges of yards, and flower gardens. Dame's Rocket is still cultivated as an ornamental plant, even though it invades natural habitats that are partially shaded. Faunal Associations
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Habitat & Distribution

Xinjiang [native to Europe and SW Asia; cultivated and naturalized elsewhere].
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Associations

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / parasite
Erysiphe cruciferarum parasitises live Hesperis matronalis

Foodplant / pathogen
Leptosphaeria maculans infects and damages live Hesperis matronalis

Foodplant / parasite
colony of sporangium of Peronospora parasitica parasitises live Hesperis matronalis
Remarks: season: 1-4

Foodplant / spot causer
amphigenous colony of Ramularia hyphomycetous anamorph of Ramularia armoraciae causes spots on live leaf of Hesperis matronalis

Foodplant / saprobe
pycnidium of Rhabdospora coelomycetous anamorph of Rhabdospora scrophulariae var. hesperidis is saprobic on dead stem of Hesperis matronalis

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Flower/Fruit

Fl. Per.: April-June.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Hesperis matronalis

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Hesperis matronalis

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 3
Specimens with Barcodes: 10
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G4 - Apparently Secure

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Management

Prevention and Control

Do not purchase or plant this species. Individual plants can be pulled by hand if soil is moist or dug up using a spade or shovel to loosen the soil and remove the entire root system. Re-sprouting may occur if entire root system is not removed. Systemic herbicides can be used to kill the entire plant including the roots.

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These species are introduced in Switzerland.
  • Aeschimann, D. & C. Heitz. 2005. Synonymie-Index der Schweizer Flora und der angrenzenden Gebiete (SISF). 2te Auflage. Documenta Floristicae Helvetiae N° 2. Genève.   http://www.crsf.ch/ External link.
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© Info Flora (CRSF/ZDSF) & Autoren 2005

Supplier: Name It's Source (profile not public)

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Risks

Ecological Threat in the United States

Dame’s rocket displaces native plant species.

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Wikipedia

Hesperis matronalis

foliage

Hesperis matronalis is a herbaceous plant species in the mustard family, Brassicaceae. It has numerous common names, including 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 and winter gilliflower. Plants are biennials or short-lived perennials, native to Eurasia and cultivated in many other areas of the world for their attractive, spring-blooming flowers. In some of those areas, it has escaped cultivation and become a weed species. The genus name Hesperis is Greek for evening, and the name was probably given because the scent of the flowers becomes more conspicuous towards evening.[1]

Description[edit]

Hesperis matronalis grows 100 cm or taller, with multiple upright, hairy stems. Typically, the first year of growth produces a mound of foliage, and flowering occurs the second year; the plants are normally biennials, but a number of races can be short-lived perennials. The plants have showy blooms in early to mid spring. 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. In early spring, a thick mound of low-growing foliage is produced; during flowering the lower parts of the stems are generally unbranched and denuded of foliage and the top of the blooming plant might have a few branches that end in inflorescences.

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. When stems have both flowers and fruits, the weight sometimes causes the stems to bend. Each flower is large (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. A few different double-flowered varieties also exist.[2] 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.[3]

Some plants may bloom until August, but warm weather greatly shortens the duration on each flower's blooming. Seeds are produced in thin fruits 5–14 cm long pods, containing two rows of seeds separated by a dimple. The fruit are terete and open by way of glabrous valves, constricted between the seeds like a pea pod. Seeds are oblong, 3–4 mm long and 1–1.5 mm wide. [4]

In North America, Hesperis matronalis is often confused with native Phlox species that also have similar large, showy flower clusters. They can be distinguished from each other by foliage and flower differences: dame's rocket has alternately arranged leaves and four petals per flower, while phloxes have opposite leaves and five petals.

Stand of dame's rocket in a forested setting
Naturalized Sweet Rocket, Whitelands Wood, Butser Hill, England.

Cultivation[edit]

H. matronalis has been a cultivated species for a long time, and grows best in full sun to partial shade where soils are moist with good drainage.[5] It is undemanding and self seeds quickly, forming dense stands. Extensive monotypic stands of dame's rocket are visible from great distances; these dense collections of plants have the potential to crowd out native species when growing outside of cultivated areas.

The successful spread of dame's rocket in North America is attributed to its prolific seed production and because the seeds are often included in prepackaged "wildflower seed" mixes sold for "naturalizing". The plants typically produce a low-lying rosette of foliage the first year; in subsequent years, blooming and seed production occurs in tandem throughout the blooming season. This species is commonly found in roadside ditches, dumps and in open woodland settings, where it is noticed when in bloom. It makes an attractive, hardy garden plant and probably does not pose a threat in urban settings.

H. matronalis is propagated by seeds, but desirable individuals, including the double-flowering forms, are propagated from cuttings or division of the clumps.

Distribution[edit]

IRELAND: An "escape" to be found in many areas of Ireland, including Belfast.[6] and other areas of Ireland.[7] NORTH AMERICA: H. matronalis grows throughout most of the U.S. and Canada. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) web site has a map showing states and provinces in which the plant has been found. [8]

Weediness[edit]

Flower detail

It is considered an invasive species in some areas; four U.S. states[9] have set the following legal status for it:

  • Colorado: noxious weed (on B-list), with plans for eradication or management varying by area and year
  • Connecticut: invasive and banned, e.g. illegal to move, sell, purchase, transplant, cultivate, or distribute
  • Massachusetts: prohibited
  • Wisconsin: Restricted - an invasive species that is already established in the state and cause or have the potential to cause significant environmental or economic harm or harm to human health.

Dame's rocket was brought to North America in the 17th century and has since become naturalized there.

In Europe, it is host to the caterpillars of several butterfly species, including the Orange Tip Anthocharis cardamines, Large White Pieris brassicae, Small White Pieris rapae, and moths, such as Plutella porrectella.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Britton, N. F.; Brown, Addison (1970). An illustrated flora of the northern United States and Canada: from Newfoundland to the parallel of the southern boundary of Virginia, and from the Atlantic Ocean westward to the 102d meridian. New York: Dover Publications. p. 175. ISBN 0-486-22643-3. 
  2. ^ Explore Cornell - Home Gardening - Flower Growing Guides - Growing Guide
  3. ^ Hesperis matronalis page
  4. ^ Hesperis matronalis in Flora of China @ efloras.org
  5. ^ Hesperis matronalis
  6. ^ Beesley, S. and Wilde, J. 1997. "Urban Flora of Belfast" The Institute of Irish Studies and The Queen's University of Belfast
  7. ^ Scannell, M. J. P. and Synnott, D. M. 1972. "Census Catalogue of the Flora of Ireland." Dublin: The Stationery Office
  8. ^ PLANTS Profile for Hesperis matronalis (dames rocket) | USDA PLANTS
  9. ^ PLANTS Profile for Hesperis matronalis (dames rocket) | USDA PLANTS
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Notes

Comments

It is a variable species with several varieties. Rarely cultivated as an ornamental in our gardens.
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Introduced and naturalized from Europe.

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