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 it's called Dame's Rocket. It's often confused with Garden Phlox because the flowers are similar and bloom at the same time.

Garden Phlox-Getty Thinkstock
Garden Phlox-Getty Thinkstock

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.

Invasive Species-Getty Thinkstock
Dame's Rocket Invasive Species-Getty Thinkstock

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”...

5 Things South Dakota Gave the World

South Dakota may not get much respect. We get a blizzard and it's a footnote on the national scene, but if Florida gets a bit chilly it's breaking news. But, maybe it's fine to be forgotten about. We kind of like being left alone on our quiet piece of the plains.

South Dakota has given a lot to the world though. Not just giant mountain carvings and settings for HBO shows, but awesome things that the rest of the world should thank us for.

More From KYBB-FM / B102.7