purple loosestrife

Lythrum salicaria

The purple loosestrife has a square stem and leaves that spiral along the sides of the stem. The purple flowers sprout at the top of the stem in a spire similar to lavender. 11

Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife) is a flowering plant belonging to the family Lythraceae. It should not be confused with other plants sharing the name loosestrife that are members of the family Primulaceae. Other names include spiked loosestrife, or purple lythrum.

The purple loosestrife has a square stem and leaves that spiral along the sides of the stem. The purple flowers sprout at the top of the stem in a spire similar to lavender. This plant can grow from 3 feet to a monstrous 7 feet in height. You can find this plant in marshlands and swamps usually on the shore of the large body of water, although it will sometimes be found inside the water. This plants only blossoms from July through September.
Although this plant is beautiful, the purple loosestrife is considered a weed because it tends to kill other plants by taking over the plant’s water and space away from them. This can lower ecosystem stability in many areas. This fact also means that wetland recreational activities (boating, fishing, etc.) are lowered in value, and can hurt small local economies. The plant, along with hurting other plant ecosystems, can also crowd out small animals, as it can remove food sources or nesting ground of these animals.
Although this plant is pretty bad for ecosystems and such, it’s not the devil himself, the plant can be used for so many good things. The beautiful purple leaves can easily be used for an edible red dye. The purple loosestrife has been tested in a lab for animals who has diabetes and the result is that the animal’s blood sugar was brought down back to normal after the purple loosestrife was applied. The purple loosestrife leaves and stem can be cooked and eaten, for its drying properties to help with many stomach viruses.

By Israel Garcia (14), Linden Harris (14) from Albuquerque Sign Language Academy

“Purple Loosestrife.” Herbcraft... Purple Loosestrife, www.herbcraft.org/loosestrife.html.

“Purple Loosestrife | Aquatic Invasive Species | Minnesota Sea Grant.” Purple Loosestrife | Aquatic Invasive Species | Minnesota Sea Grant, www.seagrant.umn.edu/ais/purpleloosestrife.

Sources and Credits

  1. (c) colinmeurk, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA), uploaded by Colin Meurk, http://www.inaturalist.org/photos/1202867
  2. (c) David Yeany, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC), http://www.inaturalist.org/photos/467135
  3. no rights reserved, https://www.inaturalist.org/photos/18875713
  4. (c) crimmer, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC), uploaded by Chris Rimmer, http://www.inaturalist.org/photos/477029
  5. (c) Chris Rimmer, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC), http://www.inaturalist.org/photos/4412381
  6. (c) botanygirl, some rights reserved (CC BY), https://www.inaturalist.org/photos/10934300
  7. (c) Joost ., some rights reserved (CC BY-NC), https://www.inaturalist.org/photos/32341909
  8. (c) Станислав, some rights reserved (CC BY-ND), https://www.inaturalist.org/photos/35250811
  9. (c) Станислав, some rights reserved (CC BY-ND), https://www.inaturalist.org/photos/35250814
  10. (c) Станислав, some rights reserved (CC BY-ND), https://www.inaturalist.org/photos/35250816
  11. Adapted by Sara Ayers from a work by (c) Wikipedia, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lythrum_salicaria

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