Purple loosestrife is a beautiful but aggressive hardy perennial, which can damage wetlands and the animals that live there, if allowed to spread unchecked. But now, scientists consider Purple Loostrife an invasive species success story. Once it's present, it has a tendency to dominate, outcompeting native vegetation. Why is the purple loosestrife so bad, and if so, why are we settling with a method of control that does not truly remove the plant from our landscapes? The plant, which can grow as tall as two meters, is made up of a few square shaped, woody stems and hundreds of flower spikes. The bad news? Purple loosestrife is a wetland plant native to Europe and Asia that was brought to North America the early 19 th century. There is actually still a great deal of debate today as to whether the conservation ecology community should continue its war on invasives the way it has for the past several decades. 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. Background. Purple loosestrife produces clusters of bright pinkish-purple flowers on wands at the top of the plant. I’m not sure why. You can’t buy these beetles. What’s so bad about purple loosestrife? The healing plant was intentionally planted as a “pioneer species” throughout New England but quickly spread through man-made canals, becoming one […] It shouldn’t be confused with other plants whose common names are also loosestrife such as Fringed Loosestrife and Gooseneck Loosestrife, both members of the primrose family. 6 /16. If the loosestrife starts to spread, the number of beetles rebounds. Purple loosestrife is found along waterways, marshes and wetlands. Purple Loosestrife is a widespread invasive plant.It’s taken over wetlands in every state in the US except Florida. This latter species is a smaller and less aggressive plant with winged stems, while the stems of Purple Loosestrife are usually round (sometimes 4-angled). Followi ng fertilization, seeds are produced. Purple loosestrife is generally not self-compatible. The Problem with Purple Loosestrife The purple loosestrife is a flowering plant found in wetlands. What's so bad about Purple Loosestrife? Flowers usually have 6 petals, are about 1” wide, and are pollinated by insects. WHY IT’S BAD: Purple Loosestrife was originally introduced to North America from Europe and Asia in the early 1800s and was commonly used as a medicinal herb to treat digestive issues and bacterial infections. The nicknames for purple loosestrife - beautiful killer, marsh monster and exotic invader - are telling. Each flower spike has many individual flowers that are pink-purple with small, yellow centers. Purple Loosestrife. Purple loosestrife, like most problem plants, is from another continent — in this case, Europe and Asia. Purple Loosestrife are the tall bright purple flowering plants you see mixed in with cattails lining the edge of many lakes and wetlands. An invasive, weedy species, loosestrife readily establishes in a variety of urban and rural wetland habitats. “Purple loosestrife displaces all the native plants in wetlands, which causes a real loss in diversity,” said Ellen Jacquert of Ellettsville, director of stewardship for the Indiana chapter of The Nature Conservancy and an expert on both exotic invasive and native plants. Unfortunately, this plant is not liked by birds, mammals, or waterfowl. It grows into dense plantings, reduces then eliminating wildlife. Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) is a flowering plant that is native to Europe and Asia. 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