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

8th June 2015, Deep Dale, White Peak, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
A large raft of white and lilac forms together on the inaccessible other side of the dale.


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 or pedestal where the petals and sepals were once attached.


7th June 2017, Burrs Country Pk, Bury, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The less-frequent purple variety.


7th June 2017, Burrs Country Pk, Bury, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
In the purple variety even the sepals are infused with colour (but so too can white-flowered specimens - see below).


8th June 2015, Deep Dale, White Peak, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
But so too can white-flowered specimens.


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
The style in the centre of the flower stops short of protruding.


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


8th June 2015, path, Nr scout Wood, Silverdale, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Lilac and white forms with upper leaves which possess hydathodes.


8th June 2015, path, Nr scout Wood, Silverdale, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Here in a darker location the sepals around the flowers are dark-green tipped. Sepals also with much longer hairs than either the main stems or the flower stalks.


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, which are with short hairs angled about 45° groundwards.


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 environmetal 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. Moreover, the seed pods of Honesty are round and paper-thin. Also the leaves of Dame's-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. The colour of the flowers is usually lilac or white, but purple flowered specimens also exist.

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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