Plant Profile: Dame’s Rocket

posted in: Plant Profiles | 7

Do you have Dame’s Rocket in your garden? and do you mistakenly call it phlox? I thought we had wild phlox but after lots of reading and searching of garden books and the internet it was discovered that we have Dame’s Rocket.

Dame's Rocket growing at

The most distinguishing feature between the two is that Dame’s Rocket has 4 petal flowers and phlox has 5 petals. So get out there and start counting those petals.

Dame's Rocket growing at

Dame’s Rocket is a completely different flower family. It is Hesperis matronalis, a member of the mustard family, but it resembles phlox in height and colour, which can be white, pink or mauve. The flower stalks can be up to 1 metre tall.

Dame's Rocket growing at

Above shows the green growth at the beginning of May. It has really spread since last year and can be considered an invasive species. The blooms appear towards the end of May and the beginning of June.

the clear wing hummingbird moth at

Last year the hummingbird clear wing moth loved visiting the Dame’s Rocket blooms.

Watch for blooms towards the end of May, and get ready to count the petals.

garden line

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7 Responses

  1. Linda

    It’s a very pretty flower but I haven’t got either that or phlox in my garden, I have a feeling I may have seen it in the wild though I’ll have to keep a look out for it, the pollinators certainly love it.

  2. Myrtle

    I don’t think we have any unless some come up in the front garden as Al only widened that garden. It is very pretty and sure looks like Phlox.

    • Crafty Gardener

      Perhaps you will see some growing in the fields. I got my original piece from my mother in law’s house in Marmora.

  3. Margie

    No Dame’s Rockets here, but I wished I did. Love the pretty purple colour!

  4. Kim

    I see lots of this along roadsides, and down by the swamp (well, before they clear-cut it for sewer pipes). I always thought it was phlox, didn’t know the difference! Next time I see some, I will count petals!

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