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Purple Loosestrife Flowers
Picture of purple loosestrife.

Picture of purple loosestrife.

David Beaulieu

Purple loosestrife flowers are hard to miss. Here we have another example of an invasive plant that, although a weed, could easily escape persecution due to its alluring good looks. Have you ever driven past a marsh and remarked upon the masses of pretty purplish blossoms growing in it? Chances are what you saw was this handsome invasive plant, which goes by the scientific name of Lythrum salicaria.

As you can see from my picture, purple loosestrife flowers are real lookers: growing en masse, these marsh plants form a veritable sea of color. So it is not surprising that the general public's response upon seeing purple loosestrife flowers tends to be positive, which infuriates conservationists to no end.

Indigenous to Eurasia, purple loosestrife flowers have taken over many marshes in the northeastern and northwestern regions of the U.S., choking out native vegetation.

Incidentally, plants in the Lysimachia genus are also frequently referred to as "loosestrifes." One example is gooseneck loosestrife (Lysimachia clethroides), a terribly invasive plant in its own right. While not commonly referred to as a loosestrife, another Lysimachia that is an invasive plant, Lysimachia nummularia, is described on Page 5. I have not found variegated yellow loosestrife (Lysimachia punctata 'Alexander') to be invasive here in New England.

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