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A Showy Pink Wildflower for Ohio’s Late Spring.

May 24, 2014

Dame’s Rocket

May is the month that a handsome flower can be seen across the landscape- along wood edges, in wood clearings, occasionally in moist fields.  It looks like something right out of a garden- and that’s exactly what it is.

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This is Dame’s Rocket, a member of the Mustard family.  It has graced gardens since the days of the Roman Empire, and it’s easy to see why.  It looks great and it is very hardy.  It is a native of Eurasia.

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A common sight along Ohio’s roads in May- growing in colonies

This wildflower has not stayed in gardens, however.  Since it is quite robust, it does well without care.  Animals spread its seeds out into the wild, and it has flourished there.

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The flowers are usually deep violet-pink and have four petals

This makes this plant an invasive species, unfortunately.  Although it is quite pretty, it crowds out native species.  Like its equally invasive relative Garlic Mustard, it produces a substance that suppresses the growth of other plants.  I have a feeling that people object less to this wildflower than other invasives because it looks so nice.

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Occasionally one sees white variations of Dame’s Rocket

Dame’s Rocket is often mistaken for Garden Phlox; however, Phlox has five petals on its flowers, while Dame’s Rocket has four, like all Mustard flowers.

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It is a fairy tall plant, growing to around 3 feet in height

Some folks like to put the flowers in salads– make sure you don’t put Phlox flowers in your bowl, though!  This is a don’t-waste-anything approach to dealing with an invasive plant.

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Leaves are toothed and alternate along the stem

This wildflower blooms for 4-6 weeks, so it will be tapering off in numbers in the summer, producing plenty of seeds.  It would be nice if it stayed in gardens!

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. May 24, 2014 11:03 pm

    So pretty!

  2. May 26, 2014 11:46 pm

    It’s a beautiful flower, and we have them here too. Some are now in bloom.

  3. May 26, 2014 11:49 pm

    Pretty. I love spring!

  4. May 27, 2014 6:46 pm

    It has just started blooming here. I like seeing it along roadsides too. It’s not as invasive as some of them.

    • May 27, 2014 7:46 pm

      Ours should start to lose their blooms early next month, Gardener- I think of it as our last spring flower…already I’ve seen a bit of Yellow Sweetclover start to bloom, that means summer is practically here.

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