Monday, May 27, 2013

Sweet Rocket . . . Blooming now . . .

This was unusual to see the variation in the color of the petals.

Sweet Rocket Hesperis matronalis (Hesperis comes from the Greek word for evening.) Native to Europe and Asia, this plant has naturalized in many areas of eastern North America and appears in some western areas of Canada and the U.S.

This plant always signals summer for me.  I grew up with 2 railroads right behind the house and this was one of many flowers that grew there.  I think so many flowers grew along the railroad beds and  roadsides as there was ample sunshine to provide for them to grow and multiply. It always seemed to be in bloom at the end of school . . . summer has begun.  Yesterday it was blooming everywhere on the Trail that we were walking on. ( an old railroad bed)  It has shades of white to deep purple and smells the sweetest in the evening.  Leaves and flower petals are edible. Leaves are best before it flowers. They are in the Mustard family including radishes, Broccoli, and cauliflower. It is not Phlox but looks similar, Sweet Rocket has 4 flower petals and Phlox has 5 flower petals.  Hope that you can get out and see or smell some Sweet Rocket this week.

 This plant is a biennial or short-lived perennial with leafy stems and 4- to 8-inch-long toothed, hairy leaves. Lilac or purple, sometimes white, flowers are borne from late spring to midsummer in racemes or panicles. Noteworthy characteristics: Considered invasive in grassland sites and forests. Attractive to insects. Flowering diminishes with age.

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