Dead stalks remain standing through winter. Description: When mature (after 3-5 years), purple loosestrife may be over 2 m tall. Stems: four-angled, almost woody, glabrous to pubescent. It creates a dense purple landscape that … Habitat Purple loosestrife is a wetland plant native to Eurasia and most of central and northern Europe with extensions into the Mediterranean region stretching from the Iberian Peninsula to the Balkan Peninsula and North Africa. Purple loosestrife can easily spread if improper control methods are used. ), which only have one flowering stalk. It is a successful colonizer and potential invader of any wet, disturbed site in North America. Purple loosestrife is a very hardy perennial which can rapidly degrade wetlands, diminishing their value for wildlife habitat. Seasonal Cycle: This aggressive weed not only re-seeds prolifically, but also reproduces vegetatively from underground stems called rhizomes that spread at a rate of about one foot per year. Purple loosestrife is now widespread in New Brunswick, being found in disturbed areas and in natural areas along river shores and in shoreline wetlands. It prefers full sun, but can tolerate shade. Stay up-to-date on the health of our lakes, educational events, and new volunteer opportunities! Control: In spite of its spectacular beauty, often covering acres of wetland areas, purple loosestrife is a particularly troublesome invasive species with low wildlife value. Other points of interest: Purple loosestrife has a long history of use in herbal medicine. It commonly occurs in freshwater and brackish marshes, along the shores of lakes, ponds and rivers, ditches, and other moist areas. Purple loosestrife can spread naturally via wind, water, birds, and wildlife and through human activities, such as in seed mixtures, contaminated soil and equipment, clothing, and footwear. Release of these insects occurred in 1992 in New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Minnesota, Oregon and Washington state. Purple loosestrife prefers wet soils or standing water. Native marsh vegetation has naturally re-established in its place—proving that with the right tools available, wetland habitats can be reclaimed from aggressive invaders like purple loosestrife. It has been used to stop both internal and external bleeding, and sap extracted from the leaves can be taken to control dysentery. Similar Species: Its opposite leaves and square stems resemble plants of the Mint Family but it is distinguished by having separate petals, a seedpod with many fine seeds, and it lacks the minty odour. Stems are square in cross-section (sometimes 5 or 6 sided) and are sturdy and may be somewhat woody at the base. Purple loosestrife flowers in July and August in most of Connecticut. Dense infestations have been known to clog canals and ditches impeding water flow. In Minnesota, where purple loosestrife has spread at an alarming rate, it is illegal to plant or sell either L. salicaria or L. virgatum. In the wild, purple loosestrife, also commonly known as lythrum, invades habitat along rivers, streams, lakes, ditches and wetlands. The pollen and nectar that purple loosestrife possess makes delicious honey. Purple loosestrife quickly establishes and spreads, outcompeting and replacing native grasses and other flowering plants that provide high-quality food and habitat sources for wildlife. As an exotic species in North America L. salicaria occurs in similar habitats, including littoral vegetation of freshwater marshes and stream margins (Thompson et al., 1987), sedge meadows (Larson, 1989) and road sides (Isabelle et al., 1987). The plant forms dense stands with thick mats of roots that can extend over vast areas. Purple loosestrife is classified as noxious weed in almost all countries of the USA and Canada. Annual Cycle: Purple loosestrife is a perennial that reproduces by seeds and rhizomes (root- like underground stems). Purple loosestrife is a wetland plant native to Europe and Asia that was brought to North America in the early 19th century. Since it was brought to North America, purple loosestrife has become a serious invader of wetlands, roadsides and disturbed areas. In reality, purple loosestrife is not nearly as destructive to habitats as it’s often made out to be, being more problematic when it colonizes disturbed, fallow habitat than when it exists as a member of an intact ecosystem. Interesting Purple loosestrife Facts: Hundreds of species of plants, birds, mammals, reptiles, insects, fish and amphibians rely on healthy wetland habitat for their survival. Invasive species cause recreational, economic and ecological damage—changing how residents and visitors use and enjoy Minnesota waters.Purple loosestrife impacts: 1. Although not native, it can occur “naturally” in any freshwater wetland area, particularly in an area that has been disturbed. Dense growth along shoreland areas makes it difficult to access open water. It's the North American equivalent of Himalayan Balsam in Britain. This highly invasive plant was likely introduced when its seeds were included in soil used as ballast in European sailing ships and discarded in North America. It needs moist conditions to reproduce but a mature plant can survive on dry soils for years. Habitat. Purple loosestrife is a wetland plant that was introduced to the east coast of North America during the 19th century. We respect your privacy and will never send you spam, or sell or distribute your information to third parties. Distribution: Originally a native of Europe, loosestrife was introduced to the northeastern United States and Canada in the 1800’s and has since spread westward to Minnesota and southward to Virginia. Impacts of Purple Loosestrife • The plant forms dense stands with thick mats of roots that can spread over large areas, degrading habitat for many native birds, insects and other species. Purple loosestrife is noted as arriving in BC in 1915. Copyright Â© 2020 Norcross Wildlife Foundation. Diagnostic Information: Flowers: July to September; small, purplish-pink with five to seven petals, clustered in the axils of reduced leaves, forming long dense terminal spikes (4-16 inches long). Biological control, in this case using insects from the plant’s natural environment, is being studied by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst 1987. It is illegal to possess, plant, transport, or … It forms dense stands that restrict native wetland plants and alter the structural and ecological values of wetlands. Habitat. Dense root systems change the hydrology of wetlands. Habitat: Purple loosestrife was introduced from Europe but is now widely naturalized in wet meadows, river flood-plains, and damp roadsides throughout most of Ontario. When purple loosestrife gets a foothold, the habitat where fish and wildlife feed, seek shelter, reproduce and rear young, quickly becomes choked under a sea of purple flowers. The native plants that the animals, birds and insects depend on for food and habitat are gone. Fruits: small capsule. Purple loosestrife blooms from June until September. The stems of Purple Loosestrife are square in cross-section. Status: Common and invasive in Connecticut. It grows throughout the U.S. and Canada as well as in several countries worldwide. One plant may have over 30 flowering stems. Leaves are lance-shaped, entire, are usually opposite and arranged in pairs. Ralph W. Tiner, Jr. Seed capsules form in mid to late summer, and each capsule contains many small seeds. Controlling the spread of purple loosestrife is crucial to protecting vital fish, wildlife and native plant habitat. It is also sold commercially for perennial gardens. Preferred Habitat: Purple loosestrife can be found in variety of wetland habitats including freshwater tidal and non-tidal marshes, river banks, ditches, wet meadows, and edges of ponds and reservoirs. If herbicides are used, they are most effective when sprayed in the late summer or early fall, but repeated use is costly, and the long-term effects on natural systems are not fully understood. The magenta flower spikes of the Purple Loosestrife. Its 50 stems are four-angled and glabrous to pubescent. Wetlands – Audubon Society Nature Guide. This highly invasive plant was likely introduced when its seeds were included in soil used as ballast in European sailing ships and discarded in North America. Purple loosestrife grows in a variety of moist soil habitats including wet meadows, marshes, floodplains, river margins, and lakeshores. It was introduced to North America on several occasions: intentionally as a garden herb and accidentally in ship ballast. It can also be found in tidal and non-tidal marshes, stream and river banks, wetlands and on occasion, in fields. Purple loosestrife has flowers with 5 to 7 purple petals… All Rights Reserved. Some wildlife will eventually leave to find better habitat but the native plants and insects that can't move are killed by this invasion. It was first introduced into North America in the early 1800s for ornamental and medicinal purposes. • Large stands of purple loosestrife can … Overtakes habitat and outcompetes native aquatic plants, potentially lowering diversity. While seeds can germinate in water, establishment is much more successful in moist substrate that’s not flooded. Due to a strongly-developed tap root, removal by digging is not recommended since the disturbance may encourage proliferation. Control techniques include early detection of purple loosestrife, hand-pulling of small infestations of one to two year-old plants before they set seed, and spot treatment of older plants with non-selective herbicides such as Rodeo for aquatic communities or Roundup on terrestrial sites. Purple loosestrife, Lythrum salicaria, is native to Europe. Although it is now seldom used, L. saIicaria was highly recommended in early herbals. It prefers wet areas in low elevations and grows in ditches irrigation canals, riparian areas and wetlands. Purple loosestrife grows well in full sun; in shaded conditions it may be smaller in stature or have fewer blossoms. Impacts: Purple loosestrife quickly establishes and spreads, outcompeting and replacing native grasses and other flowering plants that provide high quality food and habitat for wildlife. Habitat Purple loosestrife grows in a variety of wet habitats, including wet meadows, marshes, river banks, and the edges of ponds and reservoirs. Habitat where fish and wildlife feed, seek shelter, reproduce and rear young, quickly becomes choked under a sea of purple flowers. Habitat and Ecology Native to Eurasia, purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) now occurs in almost every state of the US. Native vegetation provides food, shelter and habitat for wildlife whereas an introduced species, like purple loosestrife, usually has limited value to waterfowl, insects and other animals in Manitoba. Also, purple loosestrife may lead to a purple loosestrife is the dominant vegetation. Description The most notable characteristic of purple loosestrife is the showy spike of rose-purple flowers it displays in mid to late summer. It prefers moist, highly organic soils in open areas, but can tolerate a wide range of substrate material, flooding depths, and partial shade. Their impact should be noticeable by 1997. Purple loosestrife can be differentiated from these species by a com-bination of other characteristics. A mature plant may produce up to 2.5 million seeds per year. Purple loosestrife is listed as a noxious weed in 12 other states, where its importation and distribution is prohibited. It is a successful colonizer and potential invader of any wet, disturbed site in North America. Purple loosestrife has been declared a noxious weed in 32 states. It is very common along the lower Saint John River and is still spreading. Preferred Habitat: Purple loosestrife can be found in variety of wetland habitats including freshwater tidal and non-tidal marshes, river banks, ditches, wet meadows, and edges of ponds and reservoirs.