|My Dame's Rocket Patch|
I have a long history with Dame's Rocket. When I was much younger, I spent a lot of time exploring the natural areas on Long Island where I am originally from. One day I came across a beautiful plant I had never seen before in a park not far from where I lived. I knew the caretaker of the park and inquired about the plant. By the time I came back from my hike there was a note on my windshield that simply read "Dame's Rocket"
|Four Petaled Flowers|
Fast forward about 32 years. I was reading through my "Ethnobotanical Catalog of Seeds" and saw Dame's Rocket listed, well you know I had to buy some seeds! I threw the seeds into a cleared patch in my Echinacia garden and a bunch started to come up in less than a week. They grew quickly and were flowering before I knew it. It was as beautiful as I remember it. It was good to see my old friend again.
It was quite obvious, as the plant started to flower, that it was a member of the Mustard Family. The four X shaped petals of the flower and the long thin seedpods were unmistakable. Of course now I'm thinkin "is it edible"?
Well it is! The young leaves are great in a salad but the older leaves don't taste that great. The flowers are an nice addition to a salad also. The seeds, which I haven't had a chance to experiment with, are reported to be high in healthy oils and are ground and eaten or sprouted and eaten for there high nutritional value. If you have ever seen or grown other types of Rocket, or any Mustard for that matter, you know they are prolific seed makers. A testament to their survival ("invasive") characteristics.
Last year I took all the seeds from the original plants and planted them in their own garden. This year I have a beautiful purple flowered garden. The flowers make excellent and beautifully fragrant cut flowers also.
Dame's Rocket is often mistaken for Phlox. From a distance they look quite similar, but on closer inspection you will see Phlox has five petals and the leaves are different. Don't mix them up because Phlox is not edible.