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Purple loosestrife

Purple loosestrife

Purple loosestrife

(Lythrum salicaria)

Priority: -  Control

Tags: Aquatic

Overview

Identification

Tall, perennial, wetland herb that grows up to 3 meters tall with square, woody stems.

Leaves are opposite, dark green, and lance-shaped.

Spike of purple flowers found at the upper end of stems. Flowers have 5-7 petals which appear from July through October.

Reproduction

Perennial plant that reproduces by seed and root fragments. Each plant is capable of producing up to 2.5 million seeds that can be dispersed by wind, water, wildlife, and humans.

Habitat & Ecology

Thrives in open riparian areas, ditches, ponds, and wetlands.

Impacts

Dense stands outcompete and replace native wetland vegetation; fills in wetlands thus endangering a wide variety of native wetland plant and animal species.

Management

Pull or dig the plants out and ensure that all root fragments are removed to prevent re-growth.

For large patches, there are relatively effective biocontrol agents, for example Galerucella calmariensis and G. pusilla. These beetles feed on the plant stems in their larval stage.