Invasive Plants of Wisconsin

Hesperis matronalis L.
dame's rocket
Family: Brassicaceae
basal leaves
population plant leaves inflorescence flowers

basal leaves
and last year's stem


Hesperis matronalis is a tall herbaceous biennial or a short-lived perennial that is widely planted and escapes readily. It does best in moist or wet woods, but can tolerate a wide variety of other habitats. Flowers are variable in color, ranging through many shades from white to pink to purple. It is frequently mistaken for "wild Phlox", but the four petals and conspicuous fruits 2-5 inches long clearly identify it as a Mustard family plant, rather than a Phlox which would have 5 petals and much smaller inconspicuous capsules.

Small populations can be pulled to prevent seed production. There has not been good documentation of control efforts, but it seems likely that more extensive populations may require a major effort over a span of 5-10 years (or more) to exhaust the seed bank.


known Wisconsin distribution


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