Nov. 30, 2017

purple loosestrife, Lythrum salicaria

Loosestrife has to be mentioned in any murderer's row of invasive plants. If only to gloat! Purple loosestrife was once one of the most serious pests. It formed huge stands on banks, shores, and in wetlands, choking out almost everything else. A single plant can produce over two million seeds in a season. But if you think about it, you haven't seen those big stands of loosestrife recently. You may see smaller bunches here or there. Loosestrife is now a perfect example of biological control. Two leaf beetles, and three weevils have been introduced that feed only on loosestrife. They have gotten this under control. Purple loosestrife has been reported from every state except AK, AZ, FL, GA, HI, LA, and SC; all provinces except the northern tier; and from SPM. Ives Fen Preserve, Lenawee Co MI, 8/4/10.