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Purple Loosestrife Lythrum salicaria

Phonetic Spelling
LITH-rum sal-ih-KAIR-ee-ah
This plant is an invasive species in North Carolina
Description

This plant is problematic and alternatives should be considered.  Please see the suggestions in the left-hand column.

Purple loosestrife is a perennial weed in the Lythraceae (loosestrife) family native to Africa and Eurasia.  Commonily found growing in waste areas, roadsides, and sites with wet soil conditions.  The plant will grow from 2 to 6 feet tall 

Very tolerant of wet sites and full sun.  The roots are thick and send out many runners forming an extensive underground network from which new plants can sprout.  The showy purple pink flowers appear from mid to late summer and are followed by capsules filled with thousands of tiny seeds that are easily dispersed by wind, water, and animals.

It is currently against the law in North Carolina and many other states to sell Purple loosestrife, because it escapes from cultivation and becomes a prolific weed in wetland areas, choking out native vegetation essential for waterfowl. Named cultivars once thought to be non-invasive are now known to cross and develop strains that spread rapidly in the landscape. Purple loosestrife is not recommended nor is it legal for cultivation. 

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: Consider growing native plants. See the list on the sidebar.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#purple#showy flowers#invasive#full sun tolerant#perennials#pink flowers#weedy#high maintenance#aggressive#summer flowers#illegal#wind dispersed seeds#water dispersed seeds#wet soils tolerant#animal dispersed seeds
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#purple#showy flowers#invasive#full sun tolerant#perennials#pink flowers#weedy#high maintenance#aggressive#summer flowers#illegal#wind dispersed seeds#water dispersed seeds#wet soils tolerant#animal dispersed seeds
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Lythrum
    Species:
    salicaria
    Family:
    Lythraceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Europe, Africa and Asia-Temperate
    Distribution:
    Naturalized and invasive in the USA
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 2 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Perennial
    Weed
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    High
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Wet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    Tan capsules that appear as early as July with many tiny seeds aid in the quick dispersion of this plant. Seeds the size of sand spread by wind, water, humans, and animals.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Spike
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Description:
    Intense purplish-pink flowers with 5 to 6 petals yellow centers arranged in 1 foot tall spikes that bloom from early July to September.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Feel:
    Velvety
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Whorled
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The 4 inch long leaves are stemless and lance-shaped and either opposite or whorled in an arrangement.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Square
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Description:
    4 to 6 sided square shaped stem
  • Landscape:
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Wet Soil
    Problems:
    Invasive Species
    Weedy