If you've driven the roads of South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa lately you've probably noticed lots of these purple flowers lining the roadside ditches.

These pretty blue flowers have 4 petals per flower and come in white, light purple, and darker purple, plus they smell wonderful.

So are these just what are they? Are they wildflowers of a choking invasive species?

First, according to ourwaterways.com Dame's Rocket is 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
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”...


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