Sep 29, 2013

Eradicate Invasive Plants: Purple Loosestrife

Invasive plants are disrupting and destroying many areas of our local ecology. A simple, yet effective way to combat them is to remove these problem plants from your own property. This will help limit seed production and spreading, making an important contribution towards a more healthy, sustainable environment. This series will identify bad plants, inform on how they damage our ecology and instruct how to remove from your property.

While it may look pretty, Purple Loosestrife is an invasive species
While it may look pretty, Purple Loosestrife is an invasive species that can produce up to 2,000,000 seeds per year

Purple Loosestrife

Purple Loosestrife or Lythrum salicaria is quite noticeable in late summer when it produces stalks of beautiful spike like bright purple flowers. But don’t let its beauty fool you, Loosestrife is an invasive perennial causing major problems in our wetlands and farmlands.

Brought over by European settlers for perennial gardens, it spreads quickly, sending out 30-50 shoots per year, which has helped it to spread throughout the U.S. and Canada. Moreover, a mature plant can produce up to 2,000,000 seeds per year. Loosestrife is tough, hardy, and chokes out other plants as it advances. The infestation into farmland destroys crops and meadows.

Purple Loosestrife may already be present on your property. It is easiest to spot in late summer when it is in bloom. To remove it, dig out the roots. At bare minimum, cut the flower stalks to prevent the seeds from spreading. Loosestrife is a serious threat to our native plant species. But if we each do our part by removing it and not planting it, we can help eradicate future damage.