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Hesperis matronalis

Hesperis matronalis L.

 

Dame’s Rocket, Dame’s Violet, Mother of the Evening, Dames Rocket

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae (from Stearn’s Botanical Latin)
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassRosidaeRoses, legumes, proteas, dogwoods, hydrangeas, mistletoes, euphorbias, grapes, many more
OrderBrassicalesMustard, cabbage, caper, papaya, nasturtiums, many others; most produce mustard oil
FamilyBrassicaceaeMustards, cabbages
GenusHesperisFrom the Greek for “evening,” because flowers are fragrant in the evening
SpeciesmatronalisFrom Latin meaning “favored by matrons,” as these became favorites of socialite women

About plant names...

Members of the mustard family, dame’s rocket is native to Eurasia, and naturalized in North America. “Dame’s” is because they were favorites among women (these plants were introduced to North America for gardens); “rocket” for their fast spring growth. The fast-spreading plants are considered invasives in many areas.

Identification: These plants typically have a two-year life cycle, though some persist for more than two years. In the first year, dame’s rocket doesn’t flower—it is just a mound of inconspicuous foliage. In the second year, plants reach up to 4' (1.2 m), composed of many hairy stems topped with groups of purple flowers. Flowers may also be lavender, pink, or white. Flowers are ¾-1" (1.9-2.5 cm) in diameter, and have 4 petals and a clove-like scent. It has alternate heart-shaped leaves, up to 4½" (12 cm) long and 1½" (4 cm) wide, with rounded serrations. Fruits are long, thin, upright pods, like anorexic beans. Some phlox varieties look similar, but their flowers have 5 petals instead of 4.

Online References:

Hesperis matronalis on Missouriplants.com

Hesperis matronalis at the Vanderbilt University Bioimages web site

Hesperis matronalis on Discover Life

Hesperis matronalis on the Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide

Hesperis matronalis on the Connecticut Botanical Society's Connecticut wildflowers site

Hesperis matronalis on Wikipedia

Hesperis matronalis at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Hesperis matronalis at the Missouri Botanical Garden

Hesperis matronalis (Dame’s Rocket, Dame’s Violet, Mother of the Evening, Dames Rocket)

4/24/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Ayer, MA
≈ 2 × 1¾" (5.3 × 4.6 cm)

Hesperis matronalis (Dame’s Rocket, Dame’s Violet, Mother of the Evening, Dames Rocket)

5/27/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 16 × 24" (41 × 62 cm)

Hesperis matronalis (Dame’s Rocket, Dame’s Violet, Mother of the Evening, Dames Rocket)

5/13/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 4½ × 7" (11 × 17 cm)

Hesperis matronalis (Dame’s Rocket, Dame’s Violet, Mother of the Evening, Dames Rocket)

5/7/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 17 × 12" (44 × 29 cm) ID is uncertain

Hesperis matronalis description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 16 Aug 2013.

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Hesperis matronalis (Dame’s Rocket, Dame’s Violet, Mother of the Evening, Dames Rocket)

5/16/2014 · Acton Arboretum, Action, MA
≈ 4 × 6" (11 × 16 cm)

Hesperis matronalis (Dame’s Rocket, Dame’s Violet, Mother of the Evening, Dames Rocket)

4/24/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Ayer, MA
≈ 3½ × 3½" (9.8 × 9.7 cm)

Hesperis matronalis (Dame’s Rocket, Dame’s Violet, Mother of the Evening, Dames Rocket)

6/14/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 4½ × 7" (11 × 17 cm)

Hesperis matronalis (Dame’s Rocket, Dame’s Violet, Mother of the Evening, Dames Rocket)

6/14/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 5 × 3½" (13 × 9.2 cm)

Hesperis matronalis (Dame’s Rocket, Dame’s Violet, Mother of the Evening, Dames Rocket)

4/29/2010 · Bruce Freeman Rail Trail, Chelmsford, MA
≈ 7 × 9" (17 × 21 cm)

Hesperis matronalis (Dame’s Rocket, Dame’s Violet, Mother of the Evening, Dames Rocket)

5/14/2013 · Beaver Brook Assn Conservation Lands, Rte. 130, Hollis, NH
≈ 4 × 4½" (10 × 12 cm)

Hesperis matronalis (Dame’s Rocket, Dame’s Violet, Mother of the Evening, Dames Rocket)

4/23/2010 · Nashua Rail Trail, Ayer, MA
≈ 12 × 14" (29 × 36 cm)

Hesperis matronalis (Dame’s Rocket, Dame’s Violet, Mother of the Evening, Dames Rocket)

Variegated. A cultivar? · 5/26/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Pepperell, MA
≈ 7 × 11" (18 × 27 cm)

Hesperis matronalis (Dame’s Rocket, Dame’s Violet, Mother of the Evening, Dames Rocket)

5/13/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 7 × 11" (18 × 27 cm)

Range: Zones 3-9:

About this map...