What’s Up With Purple Flowers in Minnesota, Iowa, & South Dakota Ditches?
Are purple flowers in South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa roadside ditches good wildflowers or a choking invasive menace?
These plants with 4 petals per flower come in white, light purple, and darker purple, and have a pleasing smell to some.
According to ourwaterways.com it's called Dame's Rocket. It's often confused with Garden Phlox because the flowers are similar and bloom at the same time.
However, Garden Phlox has flowers with five petals in contrast to the 4 petal structure of Dame's Rocket.
The purple flower looks harmlessly pretty right? So what's the story?
The truth is Dame's Rocket is an invasive species of the mustard family. It grows fast and furious and chokes out native wildflowers and plants.
Dame's Rocket is on the “Eradicate” list in Minnesota and is restricted in Wisconsin.
Iowa has a special saying about the plant, “spread the word, not the plant”.
In Iowa, they encourage you to pull or dig out plants in the early spring so the plant can't produce seeds that are further spread.
And the way the purple plant seems to be spreading like wildfire in South Dakota it may not be long until we are asked to “Whack The Rocket”...