Hesperis matronalis is a biennial to Perennial herb, 0.5-1 m tall, often branched above.
Leaves alternate, stalk short or none, blade to 12 cm long, 4 cm wide (Yatskievych 2006), lance-shaped, hairy on both sides, margin sparsely toothed.
Flowers purple to white, fragrant, 2-2.5 cm wide, showy, petals 4, narrowed at base (clawed), sepals 4, purple-green, pouched at base, appearing to form a tube around petal bases (Yatskievych 2006); inflorescence of spike-like clusters, racemes to 30 cm long, flowers crowded at top, fruit developing behind flowers.
Fruits becoming dry, thin, cylindrical pod 5-10 cm long, somewhat constricted between seeds.
Wetland status: UPL.
Frequency in NYC: Infrequent.
Habitat: Occasional in open areas or woodlands, roadsides, moist soil pH 5-7 (USDA, NRCS 2006).
Notes: Escaped ornamental that can displace native herbs. Introduced as a garden plant by colonists in the 1600s, possibly for medicinal purposes. Listed as moderately invasive by New York Flora Atlas and the USDA Forest Service (Douce et al. 2007; Weldy and Werier. 2005).