Lythraceae (Loosestrife Family)
An erect perennial herb, growing to a height of 60 - 210 cm.
Distinguishing Features - Leaves: 3.1 - 10 cm long, narrow, opposite, notched at base; lower ones downy, clasping the stem. Flowers: 1.3 - 2 cm wide; petals 4 to 6, >1.3 cm long, attached to a purplish calyx-like tube with several pointed teeth; 3 types of flowers, each with different stamen and pistil lengths.
Native to Eurasia; throughout Europe to central Russia, Japan, Manchuria and China; introduced to North America; common throughout southern Canada and most of the United States; in many wetland types, including freshwater wet meadows, tidal and non-tidal marshes, river and stream banks, pond edges, reservoirs, and ditches.
The Purple Loosestrife is a highly invasive species. It adapts readily to natural and disturbed wetlands. As it establishes and expands, it outcompetes and replaces native grasses, sedges, and other flowering plants that provide a higher quality source of nutrition for wildlife. The nature of purple loosestrife allows it to form dense, homogeneous stands that restrict native wetland plant species, including some endangered species, and reduce habitat for waterfowl.
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