Foreign invader: Dame’s Rocket

In early summer, the meadow areas of Raymore Park burst with a colourful display of a tall wildflower that seems to behave itself fairly well (in other words hasn’t crowded everything else out to become a monoculture). It looks a bit like a wild phlox but has four petals per flower compared to five for the real thing. It’s a photographer’s dream flower as it seems to line wooded areas with bursts of purple and white.

This Eurasian invader has enjoyed life in North America since the 17th Century and is a member of the mustard family. It is cultivated as a flower by gardeners and probably escaped into the wild from settlers’ gardens.

A cluster of Hesperis matronalis in the wild area.

A beautiful cluster of Hesperis matronalis in the wild area.

A close-up view.

A close-up view.

Attractive to butterflies, it is currently competing with large numbers of locust trees to produce a heady jasmine scent in the park.

 

 

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