Friday, May 8, 2015

Those purple roadside flowers explained

DAME’S-ROCKET – by John C. Benham, Weed Inspector,Wellington County

Some people have been wondering what those patches of mauve flowers along the roadsides are.  Most people call them “some kind” of phlox.  
If the flowers have five-petals they likely will be phlox but if they have four-petals they are Dame’s-rocket.  They are beautiful showy flowers that were brought over from Europe as an ornamental but now has adapted to our conditions and flourished.

Dame’s-rocket is a perennial reproducing only by seed.  They grow three to four-feet tall with mauve to pink to white flowers in damp soils in uncultivated areas.  

They flower May to August.  Since they are a member of the mustard family the seedpods are similar to the rest of the mustards, one to four-inch long slightly constricted between the seeds.  

They are not on the noxious weed list.