E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Hesperis matronalis L.
sweet rocket (dames rocket; dames'-violet)
Brassicaceae (Mustard family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Virginia Skilton  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #66226)

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Distribution of Hesperis matronalis
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Species Information

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General:
Perennial or biennial herb from a taproot; stems 1 to sometimes several, simple or sparingly branched, 0.5-1.3 m tall, leafy, hairy with coarse, spreading, simple or branched hairs.
Leaves:
Basal leaves soon deciduous; stem leaves lanceolate to narrowly egg-shaped, saw-toothed, 1.5-20 cm long, 0.5-4 cm wide, lower long-stalked, smaller and unstalked upwards, hairy with simple and branched hairs.
Flowers:
Fragrant; inflorescence compound, somewhat corymbiform racemes; flower stalks 3-15 mm long, ascending to spreading; petals white to rose or purple, 15-25 mm long; sepals 5-7 mm long, soft-hairy.
Fruits:
Siliques, 4-10 cm long, 1-2 mm wide, round in cross section, usually somewhat alternately contracted and expanded; seeds 3-4 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Purple
Blooming Period:
Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present from Summer to Fall
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Mesic to dry roadsides, fields and disturbed areas in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; frequent in SW BC, known from Vancouver Island and the adjacent mainland, rare in SC BC, locally frequent in WC and SE BC; introduced from Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Additional Notes

In snapdragons...it has been shown that streaking of the [petals such as is found] in dame's rocket is due to jumping genes. This rather fanciful term refers to a mobile piece of DNA, which can land in the middle of another gene (in this case a pigment gene) and inactivate it (in this case causing albinism). At random intervals the jumping gene jumps out again, causing a streak of normal pigmented tissue.

Source: Griffiths and Ganders. 1983. Wildflower Genetics: A Field Guide for British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest.

Climate

The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

Related Databases

Species References

Griffiths, Anthony J. F. and Fred R. Ganders. 1983. Wildflower Genetics: A Field Guide for British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest. Flight Press, Vancouver.

General References