The Dames Rocket Plant, also known as Sweet Rocket or Dame’s Violet is a very pretty weed that grows all over North America, including all of the BC coastal region. This plant is often mistaken for Phlox, but Phlox has five petals while Dame’s Rocket has just four.
The flowers, which resemble phlox, are deep lavender, although sometimes pink to white. The plant is part of the mustard family, which also includes radishes, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and, mustard.
The plant and flowers are edible, but fairly bitter. The flowers are attractive when added to green salads. The young leaves can also be added to your salad greens, just pick the leaves before the plant flowers. The seed can also be sprouted and added to salads.
The Dames Rocket Plant is native to Eurasia, but was introduced to North America in the 1600’s. Because it is not native to our area and quickly takes over landscapes, it should be considered an invasive alien species. It was introduced to North America as an ornamental plant, and is sold in many garden centers as a perennial and comes in many wildflower seed mixes.
It grows in moist woodlands, woodland edges, roadsides, open areas and especially riparian areas.