This invasive arrived in the 1600’s, and nothing I read finds much onerous to say about this showy plant. The worst that can be said for it is that it “might” push out native species. Compared with invasives like multiflora rose, that’s a pretty mild condemnation. Besides, any plant that arrived in the 1600’s is more “native” than my own family, who didn’t get to this side of the pond until the mid-1700’s.
Dame’s rocket is all over the place right now, filling every roadside gutter and ditch from the bottom of Roundtop Mountain to almost the top of it. These plants don’t flower for very long. Yesterday was the first I saw them in any numbers, and they will likely be diminishing in number by next week.
The flowers run the gamut of shades from almost white to mid-purple, and every shade in between. Many gardeners grow dame’s rocket in their gardens, and it easily and happily escapes those confines of civilization. And just so you know, wild phlox has five petals, not four, but until you are close enough to see that, the plants look much alike.
Still, I find it discouraging at how often wildflowers here on the mountain turn out to have originated someplace else, nearly always Europe. It’s completely understandable that new immigrants would like a bit of “home” in their gardens and around their houses, but I can’t help but wonder and fantasize a bit about what this area would look like today if only native plants covered the area. Only in my dreams is that a reality.