Dames Violet - Hesperis matronalis

Scientific Name: Hesperis matronalis.

English Name: Dames Violet, Damask Violet, Dames Rocket, Sweet Rocket, Dameswort, Dames Gilliflower, Night Scented Gilliflower, Queens Gilliflower, Rogues Gilliflower, Summer Lilac, Mother of the Evening or Winter Gilliflower.

French Name: Julienne des dames.

5 Key Characters:
  • 4 petalled flowers, white or violet or a mixture of the two, very fragrant, 18 - 20 mm across.
  • dark green lanceolate (spearhead shaped) leaves.
  • robust and leafy, grows about 40 - 90 cm tall.
  • seedpods 2.5 - 10 cm long, round in section, curving upwards.
  • found in damp shady places.
Lookalikes: In this area if you are unfamiliar with the plants of the area you might confuse it with Ladys Smock Cardamine pratensis or Soapwort Saponaria officinalis. Ladys Smock is generally smaller with kidney shaped lower leaves and threadlike upper leaves, 4 petalled pink or white flowers and no sweet scent. Soapwort has 5 petalled pink flowers, paler dull green leaves and tends to grow in sunnier places, also not scented.

Habitat: Shady damp places on the banks of streams, waste ground, hedgerows, clearings, damp meadows.

Flowering Period: May-June-July-August-September.

Status: Common, and native to this area (introduced in many places in Europe).

Photographed by Loire Valley Nature:

Photographs are numbered from left to right and top to bottom. All photos will enlarge in a new window if you click on them. 1 - 3 growing along a bief (millstream) in the Aigronne Valley, May.

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