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Purple Loosestrife
Lythraceae
Lythrum salicaria


Thunder
Thunder
Type Categories Useful Parts

Herb



Lythraceae Family

Lythrum Genus
Other Names for this Plant

Blooming Sally, Lythrum, Partyke, Purple Willow Herb, Rainbow Weed, Sage Willow, Salicaire


Location

Native to Europe & Asia

Physical Description
This handsome perennial, 2 to 4 feet in height, has a creeping rhizome, four to six angled, erect, reddish-brown stems, lanceolate leaves from 3 to 6 inches long, entire, sometimes opposite, sometimes in whorls clasping the stem, with reddish purple or pink flowers in whorls forming terminal spikes. It grows in wet or marshy places, varying in different districts in the comparative lengths of stamens and styles, color of flowers and pollen grains. It is odorless, with an astringent taste. It has been used in tanning leather.


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Lythraceae
Myrtales
Myrtales
Order of Myrtles
Malvidae
Mallow Class
Eurosids
Real Rose Class
Rosids
Rosids
Rose-Like Class
Core Eudicots
Core Eudicots
Main, Real, Two First-Leaves (Dicots)
Eudicots
Eudicots
Real, Two First-Leaves (Dicots)
Mesangiospermae
Mesangiospermae
Half Capsule Seed Division
Magnoliophyta
Magnoliophyta
Magnolia Division
Spermatophytes
Spermatophytes
Seed Plants
Euphyllophytina
Real Land Plants
Polysporangiates
Multiple Spore Sub-Kingdom
Stomatophytes
Stomatophytes
Air Pores Sub-Kingdom
Embryophytes
Embryophytes
Multicellular Land Plants
Streptobionta
Streptobionta
Multicellular Plants
Plantae
Plantae
Plants
Eukaryota
Eukaryota
Cells with a Nucleus


General Information

1800s brought to North America by settlers for flower gardens. Seeds were also present in ballasts of ships where soil was used to weigh down the vessels for stability on the ocean.

Medicinal Uses: The flowering plant is an intestinal disinfectant, treating diarrhea and food poisoning. It acts as a typhus antibiotic, a sore throat gargle, and is given for fever and liver problems.

Although scarcely used at present, Loosestrife has been highly esteemed by many herbalists. It is well established in chronic diarrhea and dysentery, and is used in leucorrhoea and blood-spitting. In Switzerland the decoction was used successfully in an epidemic of dysentery. It has also been employed in fevers, liver diseases, constipation and cholera infantum, and for outward application to wounds and sores.

It has been stated to be superior to Eyebright for preserving the sight and curing sore eyes, the distilled water being applied for hurts and blows on the eyes and even in blindness if the crystalline humor is not destroyed.

Food Uses: The leaves are eaten as an emergency

Used as a vegetable and fermented into a mild alcohol

Cultivation: Critical temperatures at the soil surface necessary for germination are between 15 and 20 degrees Centigrade. These temperature requirements may be the southern limiting factors in the distribution of purple loosestrife. Light requirements (day length) do not affect germination rates. Purple loosestrife tolerates a broad pH range, with successful germination occurring between pH of 4.0 and 9.1 (Shamsi and Whitehead 1974 as cited in Thompson, et al. 1987). Under favorable conditions germination to flowering can occur in 8 - 10 weeks. Spring-germinated seedlings have a higher survival rate than summer-germinated seedlings (ESA - The Nature Conservancy), and seedling establishment is higher when seeds over winter at least one year. Seedling establishment requires moist soils.

Propagation: Purple loosestrife reproduces by seeds and it spreads by rhizomes. A single plant may produce over 100,000 tiny seeds in a growing season. The seeds remain viable for long periods in wetlands and may be spread by wind, on the feet of waterfowl or by other wetland animals. Seeds become buoyant as they begin to germinate, allowing them to float to new areas.

Warning: This plant is considered an invasive species in some areas. Some states have banned it.



Purple Loosestrife




Purple Loosestrife


Comment: Purple Loosestrife, Lythrum salicaria

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