DAME'S VIOLET

SWEET ROCKET

Hesperis matronalis

Cabbage Family [Brassicaceae]  

month8May month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8Aug

status
statusZneophyte
 
flower
flower8lilac
 
morph
morph8actino
 
petals
petalsZ4
 
stem
stem8round
 
smell
smell8perfume smell8perfumed smell8fragrant smell8scented smell8scent
scent

12th June 2008, Litton, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
White and lilac forms together.


14th June 2003, Tixal, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
Grows up to a metre in height on stiff stems. Last years old and now brittle and straw-coloured stems are often intermingled with new growth.


25th May 2005, Reddish Vale, Greater Manchester. Photo: © RWD
The leaves are lanceolate with small teeth. The flowers white or pale lilac with four petals in a small cluster near the top of the stem.


20th June 2008, Laxey Wheel Mines area, Isle of Man. Photo: © RWD
Colour can vary to deeper purple shades.


20th June 2008, Laxey Wheel Mines area, Isle of Man. Photo: © RWD
The seed pods arise in the middle of the flower and start at the bulge where the petals and sepals were once attached.


20th June 2008, Laxey Wheel Mines area, Isle of Man. Photo: © RWD
Pods curve upwards and are long, thin and cylindrical with a cream-coloured blob on the end, the remains of the styles.


12th June 2008, Litton, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD


13th May 2011, Lancaster Canal, Sedgewick, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
This specimen unusually has rounder overlapping petals; most are propellor like.


13th May 2011, Lancaster Canal, Sedgewick, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Un-opened flower buds are narrow and cylindrical with four green sepals rom which the pink petals protrude slightly.


13th May 2011, Lancaster Canal, Sedgewick, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Four typical well-separated petals.


13th May 2011, Lancaster Canal, Sedgewick, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Stems branch alternately, with single leaves just below the branches and elsewhere. The stems are slightly hairy with fuzzy short hairs. Can grow to 2m under favourable conditions, as here, by a shallow ditch.


13th May 2011, Lancaster Canal, Sedgewick, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Leaves are stalkless attaching directly to the stems.


13th May 2011, Lancaster Canal, Sedgewick, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The small yellow bumps on the edge of the leaf are the hydathodes, a bit like leaky valves, which secrete excess water from the plant and operate alongside the stomata (which can open or close up in response to the environmenal moisture). They are also obvious on other plants from the Brassicaceae (Cabbage family) such as on the edges of the leaves of Sea Stock (Matthiola sinuata) where they are much more conspicuous and typically visible on the leaves of many Campanula (Bellflowers).


9th July 2005, Worksop, Nottinghamshire. Photo: © RWD
The leaves are lanceolate, unlike those of Honesty which are heart-shaped. The teeth irregular.


Easily confused with : Honesty but honesty also comes in purple forms, and never lilac. Also the leaves of Dames Violet are lanceolate whereas those of Honesty heart-shaped and more irregular.

The flowers have some similarities to Lady's Smock but the leaves are altogether different, and Lady's Smock reaches just half the height and grows in dampish grassy places.

Some similarities to : the popular garden plant Virginia Stock (Malcolmia maritima) which is not native to the UK but rather to Greece and Albania.

The flowers are biennials, producing just foliage in the first year, flowering in the second year, dying the third. The flowers open early spring and may last until August unless a spell of warm weather shortens their duration. The flowers are pleasantly fragrant.

Dame's Violet contains about 45µg/g of Calystegines, which are polyhydroxylated nortropanes, of which roughly 85% is Calystegine B3 and 15% Calystegine A5.


  Hesperis matronalis  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Brassicaceae  

Distribution
family8cabbage family8Brassicaceae family8Cruciferae

 BSBI maps
genus8hesperis
Hesperis
(Dame's-violet)

DAME'S VIOLET

SWEET ROCKET

Hesperis matronalis

Cabbage Family [Brassicaceae]  

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