South Dakota Native Plant Research
Brassicaceae : Hesperis matronalis

Brassicaceae : Hesperis matronalis


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Family Name


Common Name

Dame's rocket


Hesperis matronalis is a showy, biennial or short-lived perennial, with upright, branched stems, growing from 50-100 cm in height and having rough spreading hairs. The leaves are simple, alternate, deltoid-lanceolate to oblong-lanceolate, sessile or with a short petiole, blades growing up to 12 cm long and 3.5 cm wide near the base of the plant and becoming smaller as they ascend the stem. The margins are sharply toothed, the upper leaf surface has simple hairs with branched hairs beneath. First year plants over-winter as an evergreen basal rosette. The inflorescence is a raceme of fragrant 4-merous flowers. The sepals are hairy, greenish, narrowly oblong, and form a slender tube. The petals are pink to bluish purple (occasionally white) 2-2.5 cm long, 2 short and 6 longer stamens and a cylindrical pistil. The fruit is a silique, 5-14 cm long containing many spindle shaped seeds, 3-4 mm long. Dame’s rocket blooms from May through August along roadsides, in thickets and open woods throughout South Dakota.

Additional Notes

Dame’s rocket is an introduced species brought to North American by early European settlers and is naturalized throughout the continent. Although an attractive species, it is considered a noxious weed in many states. It is not recommended for inclusion in a native plant garden.

Brassicaceae : Hesperis matronalis