purple loosestrife USDA PLANTS Symbol: LYSA2
U.S. Nativity: Exotic
Habit: Aquatic Forbs/Herbs
Lythrum salicaria L.

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Taxonomic Rank: Magnoliopsida: Myrtales: Lythraceae
Synonym(s): purple lythrum, rainbow weed, salicaire, spiked loosestrife
Native Range: Europe (); Old World (BAIL)

Purple loosestrife is a tall, multi-stemmed (30-50 per plant), perennial forb that can grow up to 10 ft. (3 m) in height. The opposite or whorled leaves are dark-green, lance-shaped, sessile, 1.5-4 in. (3.8-10.2 cm) long and round or heart-shaped at the base. Flowering occurs in July to October, when pink to purplish flowers develop in 4-16 in. (10.2-40.6 cm) long spikes at the tops of the stems. Flowers have 5-7 petals and twice as many stamens as petals. Fruits are capsules that are enclosed in the hairy sepals. Purple loosestrife is a serious invader of many types of wetlands, including wet meadows, prairie potholes, river and stream banks, lake shores, tidal and non-tidal marshes, and ditches. It can quickly form dense stands that displace native vegetation. Purple loosestrife can spread very rapidly due to its prolific seed production; one plant can produce as many as 2 million seeds per year. Purple loosestrife is native to Europe and Asia. It was first introduced into North America in the early 1800s for ornamental and medicinal purposes. It has also been used as a nectar plant for bee-keeping.

Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources

Selected Images from Invasive.orgView All Images at Invasive.org


Flower(s);
Eric Coombs, Oregon Department of Agriculture, Bugwood.org
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Flower(s);
Norman E. Rees, USDA Agricultural Research Service - Retired, Bugwood.org
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Infestation; Roadside infestation
Britt Slattery, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Bugwood.org
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Flower(s);
Linda Wilson, University of Idaho, Bugwood.org
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Fruit(s); fruit and seeds
Gary L. Piper, Washington State University, Bugwood.org
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Flower(s);
John D. Byrd, Mississippi State University, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s); in flower
John D. Byrd, Mississippi State University, Bugwood.org
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Infestation; Southeast Minnesota, September
Linda Haugen, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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Infestation;
Steve Dewey, Utah State University, Bugwood.org
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Foliage;
Steve Dewey, Utah State University, Bugwood.org
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Infestation;
Steve Dewey, Utah State University, Bugwood.org
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Infestation;
Steve Dewey, Utah State University, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s); Ornamental planting
Steve Dewey, Utah State University, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s);
Steve Dewey, Utah State University, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s); in flower
David Cappaert, Michigan State University, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s); Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. Illustrated flora of the northern states and Canada. Vol. 2: 581.
USDA PLANTS Database, USDA NRCS PLANTS Database, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s); USDA NRCS. Wetland flora: Field office illustrated guide to plant species. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
USDA PLANTS Database, USDA NRCS PLANTS Database, Bugwood.org
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EDDMapS Distribution:
This map is incomplete and is based only on current site and county level reports made by experts and records obtained from USDA Plants Database. For more information, visit www.eddmaps.org
 


State(s) Where Reported invasive.
Based on state level agency and organization lists of invasive plants from WeedUS database.

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U.S. National Parks where reported invasive:
Acadia National Park (Maine)
Blue Ridge Parkway (North Carolina)
Colonial National Historical Park (Virginia)
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (Pennsylvania)
George Washington Memorial Parkway (Virginia)
Great Smoky Mountains National Park (North Carolina & Tennessee)
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore (Indiana)
Minute Man National Historical Park (Massachusetts)
National Capital Parks East (Washington, D.C.)
Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway (Wisconsin)



Invasive Listing Sources:
Alabama Invasive Plant Council
California Invasive Plant Council
City of Ann Arbor Michigan Parks and Recreation
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, 1994.
Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group
Delaware Natural Resources and Environmental Control, 2004
Faith Campbell, 1998
Hoffman, R. & K. Kearns, Eds. 1997. Wisconsin manual of control recommendations for ecologically invasive plants. Wisconsin Dept. Natural Resources, Bureau of Endangered Resources. Madison, Wisconsin. 102pp.
Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society
Invasive Plant Council of New York State
Jil M. Swearingen, Survey of invasive plants occurring on National Park Service lands, 2000-2007
John Randall, The Nature Conservancy, Survey of TNC Preserves, 1995.
Kentucky Exotic Pest Plant Council
Maryland Cooperative Extension Service.  2003. Invasive Plant Control in Maryland. Home and Garden Information Center, Home and Garden Mimeo HG88. 4 pp.
Maryland Department of Natural Resources, 1994
Mid-Atlantic Exotic Pest Plant Council, 2005
Missouri Department of Conservation,
National  Wildlife Refuge Association, Silent Invasion: A Call to Action from the National Wildlife Refuge Association, 2002. Washington DC. 17 pp.
Native Plant Society of Oregon, 2008
New Hampshire Invasive Species Committee. 2005. Guide to Invasive Upland Plant Species in New Hampshire. New Hampshire Department of Agriculture,  Markets and Food Plant Industry Division and New Hampshire Invasive Species Committee.
New Jersey Department of Agriculture, Division of Plant Industry, 2004
North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, 1998
Pacific Northwest Exotic Pest Plant Council, 1998
Rhode Island Natural History Society,
South Carolina Exotic Pest Plant Council
Tatyana Livschultz, Pennsylvania survey of invasive plants,
Tennessee Exotic Pest Plant Council
Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation
Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, 2009