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. Flowers usually have 6 petals, are about 1” wide, and are pollinated by insects. It prefers sun, but, like most invasive weeds, it adapts well in many soil types. 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). 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? An invasive, weedy species, loosestrife readily establishes in a variety of urban and rural wetland habitats. The flowering parts are used as medicine. 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. 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. What's so bad about Purple Loosestrife? 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. Purple loosestrife is a beautiful but aggressive hardy perennial, which can damage wetlands and the animals that live there, if allowed to spread unchecked. The nicknames for purple loosestrife - beautiful killer, marsh monster and exotic invader - are telling. Overview Information Purple loosestrife is a plant. The bad news? 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. Purple Loosestrife. Once it's present, it has a tendency to dominate, outcompeting native vegetation. 6 /16. Unfortunately, this plant is not liked by birds, mammals, or waterfowl. The healing plant was intentionally planted as a “pioneer species” throughout New England but quickly spread through man-made canals, becoming one […] I’m not sure why. You can’t buy these beetles. Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) is a flowering plant that is native to Europe and Asia. It grows into dense plantings, reduces then eliminating wildlife. The Problem with Purple Loosestrife The purple loosestrife is a flowering plant found in wetlands. Purple loosestrife is generally not self-compatible. Purple loosestrife, like most problem plants, is from another continent — in this case, Europe and Asia. Comments: The only other species that is similar to Purple Loosestrife is the native Lythrum alatum (Winged Loosestrife), which also occurs in wetlands. Followi ng fertilization, seeds are produced. What’s so bad about purple loosestrife? Purple loosestrife produces clusters of bright pinkish-purple flowers on wands at the top of the plant. Each flower spike has many individual flowers that are pink-purple with small, yellow centers. Purple loosestrife is found along waterways, marshes and wetlands. If the loosestrife starts to spread, the number of beetles rebounds. But now, scientists consider Purple Loostrife an invasive species success story. 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