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Invasive Species in Amherst State Park

Close up Photo

photo by  WNY PRISM

June 5, 2015

Hesperis matronalis - Dame’s Rocket

    Dame’s rocket (Hesperis matrolalis) is a biennial herb from the mustard family native to Eurasia. It was introduced to North America in the 1600’s to become invasive in moist wooded areas and open areas. Garden centers may sell Dame’s rocket as a short lived perennial and in “Wildflower” seed mixes. An erect plant with fragrant, purple, pink, or white flowers which bloom from April through August. The plant’s ability to bloom for many months with abundant seeds has caused its widespread distribution.  

    Dame’s rocket lacks natural predators and diseases in North America and so it competes with native species for water, light and nutrients, often forming dense monocultures. It competes with native plants at the edges of woodlands, in woodland openings, and in semi-open forests. This competition for resources inhibits tree seedling germination and growth.

Infestation Photo