readily establishes in a variety of urban and rural wetland habitats. Purple loosestrife, beautiful though aggressive invasive flower of North America. are currently approved to control loosestrife growing in or near 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. Invasive species cause recreational, economic and ecological damage—changing how residents and visitors use and enjoy Minnesota waters.Purple loosestrife impacts: 1. Our native cattails, for example, are almost as rudely aggressive and competitive in many wetland areas as purple loosestrife. to top. of root tissue left in the soil, digging is not a viable long term Purple loosestrife’s ability to form expansive populations in a quick manner, pushing other plants aside and forming what appears to be a dense monoculture, is part of the reason it has earned itself a place among the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s list of 100 World’s Worst Invasive Alien Species. Purple loosestrife is believed to have been brought over from Europe in the early 1800s by settlers for their gardens, and in the soil contained in the ballast of ships. 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. Change ). spread to other locations in my yard or to my neighbor's yard. Purple loosestrife is an invasive species that is believed to be from Eurasia. it can clog irrigation canals and reduces the value of forage. Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife) – image credit: wikimedia commons. When I read about how it is such great bee forage, I just shook my head . Purple loosestrife is a strikingly beautiful wildflower that was brought to North America in the early 1800s. In a paper published in Biological Invasions in 2010, Claude Lavoie compares news reports about purple loosestrife around the turn of the century with data presented in scientific papers and finds that the reports largely exaggerate the evidence. Once it's present, it has a tendency to dominate, outcompeting native 3. Purple Loosestrife Purple loosestrife is noted as arriving in BC in 1915. monotypic stand of Purple Loosestrife. It is important to dispose of the plants away from the water. Today, it can be found across much of Canada and the United States. waterways. It is also cultivated as an ornamental plant in gardens, and is particularly associated with damp, poorly drained locations such as marshes, bogs and watersides. We can watch it affect, change, adapt, and refit both its own elements and those of invaded communities into new arrangements of energy efficiency. 4. No herbicides That alone is enough to endear purple loosestrife, in my mind, but there’s so much more to love: Settlers brought the beautiful plants for their gardens, and seeds were present in soil used to provide weight for stability on European ships. It was well-established in New England by the 1830s, and spread along canals and other waterways. and exotic invader - are telling. Is my garden variety (cultivar) of Purple Loosestrife safe? It is important that we continue to study purple loosestrife and species like it in order to fully understand the impact that introduced species are having on natural areas, especially since it is unlikely that we will ever completely eliminate them. Is my garden variety (cultivar) of Purple Loosestrife safe? Special thanks to Colleen It was, instead, a biological menace that needed to be destroyed. Introduced in the early 1800s to North America via ship ballast, as a medicinal herb, and ornamental plant. How does Purple Loosestrife escape from my garden? 8. The flowers attract a wide variety of pollinating insects – mostly bees – and afterwards produce small capsules full of tiny, red-brown seeds. It first arrived in North America in the 1800s and was most likely introduced through several different means, including ballast water of ships, imported sheep's wool, and the horticultural trade. Purple loosestrife is native to Europe, Asia and northern Africa, with a range that extends from Britain to Japan. During its first 150 years or so in North America, purple loosestrife became naturalized in ditches, wet meadows, and the banks of streams, rivers, lakes, and ponds while also enjoying a place in our gardens. In urban areas loosestrife commonly takes hold in Purple loosestrife has an enormous native range throughout Eurasia (throughout Great Britain, and across central and southern Europe to central Russia, Japan, Manchuria China, southeast Asia and northern India), but is kept in check in its native range by herbivores, disease, climate and the competitive ability of other native plants. This plant, like few others, stirs our alien prejudice. Its average height is 5 feet. Broken stem pieces also take root in mud, creating new plants. Purple Loosestrife growing along a stream. When biological control programs began in the 1990’s, news outlets reported on their success. ( Log Out /  Concern about its spread was raised in the first half of the twentieth century, but it wasn’t until the 1980’s after an extensive survey was done and a special report was issued by the U.S. Even though less than half of Pennsylvania's wetlands are presently infested, purple loosestrife is … large scale infestations this is too costly and time consuming. It is believed that it was introduced as a contaminant in European ship ballast and as a medicinal herb for treating diarrhea, dysentery, bleeding and ulcers. Purple loosestrife was being accused of all manner of crimes against nature and was being condemned before there was sound evidence to justify such actions. Is my garden variety (cultivar) of Purple Loosestrife safe? Purple loosestrife has found its way to nearly every state in America and most of the Canadian provinces. has many far reaching ecological implications, many of which still . Legislated Because. Purple loosestrife arrived in North America as early as the 1800's. However, he warns that “focusing on purple loosestrife instead of on other invasive species or on wetland losses to agriculture or urban sprawl could divert the attention of environmental managers from more urgent protection needs.” There is mounting evidence that purple loosestrife invasions are disturbance-dependent and are “an indicator of anthropogenic disturbances.” In order to protect our wetlands, we must first protect them against undue disturbance. In my research I saw some sources listing it as native to parts of Australia. The next reported collection of purple loosestrife was near Lockport in 1944 and then in Winnipeg seven years later. Pulling purple loosestrife by hand is easiest when plants are young (up to two years) or in sand. Thanks for sharing! This perennial plant prefers wetlands, stream and river banks and shallow ponds where it can displace valuable habitat for flora and fauna. Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria L.) is an invasive, emergent, perennial plant, native to Europe and Asia. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. 9. solution. – is an herbaceous perennial in the family Lythraceae. According to Lavoie, “a long list of the impacts of the species on wetland flora and fauna [was] presented,” but the claims were not supported by observational or experimental data – “the impacts [were] only suspected.” Regardless, wetland managers began campaigns against purple loosestrife in order to convince the public that it was a Beautiful Killer. Dense root systems change the hydrology of wetlands. Purple Loosestrife Info. Purple Loosestrife Project's Top 10 FAQ. Since purple loosestrife can regenerate from even the smallest piece The plant blossoms every July through September with purple flowers that are located in long spikes at the tip of its branches. Settlers brought it for their gardens and it may also have come when ships used rocks for ballast. Why should I get rid of it now? So now it is regarded as a local native plant. Purple loosestrife, introduced from Europe in the early 1800s as a garden ornamental plant, has invaded wetlands throughout eastern North America, edging out many native species. Apart from seeds, populations expand clonally as root crowns grow larger each year and produce increasingly more stems. 2. It began with the U.S. The following top 10 frequently asked questions were compiled from Purple loosestrife can be cut or pulled without a permit in Minnesota. Purple loosestrife is a wetland plant native to Europe and Asia that was brought to North America in the early 19th century. affects everything from the nutrient cycling regime to wildlife Purportedly sterile cultivars, with many flower colors, are still sold by nurseries. Which safe perennial are you exchanging for my Purple Loosestrife? Now I know why. What's so bad about Purple Loosestrife? Care must be taken though, as removal of purple loosestrife can result in a secondary invasion by noxious weeds with an even worse track record, such as common reed or reed canary grass. Lavoie reports that all but one of them “rely on a relatively high number of sources that have not been published in peer-reviewed journals.” After examining the reviews, Lavoie concludes: “although each review provided valuable information on purple loosestrife, most were somewhat biased and relied on a substantial amount of information that was anecdotal or not screened by reviewers during a formal evaluation process. vegetation. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your account. No. Doing a project on the loosestrife, and one of the criteria is where it comes from, help. 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. established, it is extremely difficult to eradicate. Purple loosestrife can actually remove PCBs from contaminated water and soil, and in fact, they did a great study on its efficacy on the Hudson River – with significant success. Project. Purple loosestrife arrived in North America as early as the 1800's. Yet, because cattails obvioulsy ‘belong here,’ they seldom evoke the same outraged feelings against their existence. Broken stem pieces also take root in mud, creating new plants. Once Upon examination he concludes that “stating that this plant has ‘large negative impacts’ on wetlands is probably exaggerated.” The most common accusation – that purple loosestrife crowds out native plants and forms a monoculture – “is controversial and has not been observed in nature (with maybe one exception).” Lavoie finds that there is “certainly no evidence that purple loosestrife ‘kills wetlands’ or ‘creates biological deserts,'” and “there are no published studies [in peer-reviewed journals] demonstrating that purple loosestrife has an impact on waterfowl or fishes.” All other negative claims against purple loosestrife “have not been the object of a study,” except for its impact on amphibians, which had at that time only been tested on two species, one “reacting negatively.” Certain claims – such as purple loosestrife’s impact on wetland hydrology – should be studied more in depth “considering the apparent public consensus on the detrimental effects of purple loosestrife” on wetland ecosystems.