Purple Loosestrife
Lythrum salicaria
Family Lythraceae

* Blossoms 6-petaled, in slender spikes.
* Leaves stalkless, downy, opposite or in 3's.
* Height: 2-4'.

Natural History:
* Flowers in June - September.
* Habitat: Swamps, wet meadows.
* Range: Eastern and central United States and southern Canada.
* Introduced from Europe.

* Purple loosestrife was brought to America from Europe in the early 1800's, and incorporated into perennial gardens. It is prized for its deep amber-colored honey.

* Purple loosestrife is a pest; it crowds out native species, spreads uncontrollably, and is not a significant source of food for wildlife.

* Charles Darwin performed extensive research of insect pollination of purple loosestrife. He found that a single plant can produce three thousand individual flowers, and that thirteen hours of daylight are required for pollination to occur.

* Shakespeare called purple loosestrife "long purples" and "dead men's fingers".


Created by: Allaire Diamond and Jiasuey Hsu
Maintained by: Nick Rodenhouse
Created: July 31, 1998
Last Modified: November 21, 2008