Hesperis matronalis
Midwest Noxious Weed: Do Not Plant
Common Name: dame's rocket 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Brassicaceae
Native Range: Europe to central Asia
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: White, violet
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy, Fragrant, Good Cut
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer
This plant is listed as a noxious weed in one or more Midwestern states outside Missouri and should not be moved or grown under conditions that would involve danger of dissemination.


Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Best in part shade in hot summer climates. A short-lived perennial or biennial that remains in the garden for years as a result of prolific self-seeding. Prompt removal of spent flowers may encourage a second flush of bloom. Plants can become woody at the base and persist for a number of years, but are best replaced with new seedlings. Easily grown from seed.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Hesperis matronalis is an upright, multi-branched, short-lived perennial or biennial which typically grows 2-3' tall (less frequently to 4'). Features white, lavender or purple, 1/2", 4-petaled flowers in loose, terminal racemes which bloom in late spring. Flowers are very fragrant, particularly in the evening. Serrate, ovate to lance-shaped, dark green foliage. Native to Eurasia, but has naturalized in many areas of eastern North America as a garden escapee.

Genus name comes from the Greek word hespera meaning the evening for their evening fragrance.

Specific epithet refers to March 1, which was the Roman festival of the matrons (married ladies).


No serious insect or disease problems.


Excellent plant for meadows, naturalized areas or cottage gardens. May also be grown in borders, but foliage tends to disappear after flowering, thus necessitating the use of annuals or late-developing perennials to fill in the gaps.