Purple loosestrife

Lythrum salicaria
Purple loosestrife  |  Lythrum salicaria
   
Purple loosestrife  |  Lythrum salicaria
   
Purple loosestrife  |  Lythrum salicaria
   
Purple loosestrife  |  Lythrum salicaria
   
Purple loosestrife  |  Lythrum salicaria
   
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Common Name:

Purple loosestrife

Botanical name:

Lythrum salicaria

Legal Status:

NEMBA Category 1a

A plant of European origin, it is an erect, hairy perennial that can reach up to 2m high. It has 30-50 stems and forms wide-topped crowns. The stems are reddish-purple or red to purple and square in cross-section and the downy leaves are lance-shaped. Showy spikes of rose-purple flowers appear in summer. The flowers are10-20mm in diameter, with six petals (occasionally five) and 12 stamens, clustered tightly in the axils of bracts or leaves. The fruit is a small 3-4mm capsule containing numerous minute seeds.

Additional Info

  • Where does this species come from?

    The invasive Lythrum salicaria is native to Eurasia.

    Why is it a problem?

    Under favorable conditions, purple loosestrife is able to rapidly establish and replace native vegetation with a dense, homogeneous stand that reduces local biodiversity, endangers rare species and provides little value to wildlife

    Means of reproduction?

    Individual flowers have five to seven petals. A single mature plant can have 30-50 stems arising from one rootstock, and can produce an estimated two to three million seeds per year.

    Resources

    For more information:  Invasive Species South Africa - Lythrum salicaria | Purple loosestrife

    City of Cape Town Invasive Species ID Kit - Click here to download a z-folder pamphlet on Lythrum salicaria | Purple loosestrife

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