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Purple Loosestrife

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Purple Loosestrife  


  • Why should we care?
    • Purple loosestrife invades and destroys wetlands, replacing cattails and other native plants, making it extremely difficult for other species of plants and wildlife to create a suitable habitat for their survival.
  • How to Identify
    • The stalks on purple loosestrife plants are square in shape, 5–6 sided, woody and are about 6 feet tall. The leaves have smooth edges, arranged opposite each other in pairs, which alternate at 90 degree angles. They may appear to be in groups of three as well. Purple loosestrife have individual flowers that have 5–6 petals surrounding small, yellow centers, making up flower spikes like lilacs. The rootstocks on these plants are extensive, “choking” plant life around it. 
  • About the Plant and Where it came from
    • Lythrum salicaria
    • Purple loosestrife, which is native to Europe and Asia, was brought to North America in the early 1800s. It was first used as spreading next to roads, canals, and draining ditches and then later used for ornamental and medical purposes.
  • How to Control
    • Cultural control: Hand-pulling of younger plants before their seeds set.
    • Chemical control: Spot-treatment of older plants with glyphosate herbicide.
    • Biological control: The root weevil and two leaf-eating beetles have been approved by the U.S Department of Agriculture for use.

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