The flowers require pollination by insects, for which it supplies an abundant source of nectar. What you should do. Purple loosestrife is easiest to identify when it is flowering. Purple loosestrife affects natural areas by changing wetland physical structure, plant species composition, and even water chemistry. Bloom time is mid-summer, from the end of June through the beginning of August. Growing in dense thickets, loosestrife crowds out native plants that wildlife use for food, nesting, and hiding places, while having little or no value for wildlife itself. The spikes can be quite tall, up to 6 feet. A People spread purple loosestrife primarily through the movement of water-related equipment and uninformed release of garden plants. Purple loosestrife usually grows to a height of 3 to 7 ft., but it can grow as tall as 12 ft. What Does Purple Loosestrife Look Like? Purple loosestrife was probably introduced multiple times to North America, both as a contaminant in ship ballast and as an herbal remedy for dysentery, diarrhea, and other digestive ailments. Introduced to the United States from Europe in the 1800s for ornamental and medical uses, the purple loosestrife has invaded wetlands, crop fields and pastures in virtually every contiguous state in the nation. Thick stands of purple loosestrife crowd out native plants and reduce food, shelter, and nesting sites for wildlife, birds, turtles, and frogs. A mature plant can develop into a large clump of stems up to five feet in diameter. Such a shift in the density and number of species present in a marsh presents challenges to the animal species living in that marsh. Look for purple flowers growing on a spike similar to liatris. BIOLOGY & SPREAD Purple loosestrife enjoys an extended flowering season, generally from June to September, which allows it to produce vast quantities of seed. Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) is an invasive perennial plant that is spreading rapidly in North American wetlands, shorelines, and roadside ditches. It features pink, purple or magenta flowers in dense spikes, up to 18 in. The first published report of purple loosestrife in Manitoba came from the Neepawa area in 1896. Spectacular when in full bloom, Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) is a vigorous, upright perennial enjoying an extremely long bloom season from late spring to late summer. Seeds can be hidden in mud and debris, and can stick to boots, waders, and other fishing and hunting gear. Each stem is four- to six-sided. Purple loosestrife's beauty is deceptive: it is killing our nation's wetlands. Purple loosestrife can spread within marsh systems to create monotypic stands. Comments: The only other species that is similar to Purple Loosestrife is the native Lythrum alatum (Winged Loosestrife), which also occurs in wetlands. A wetland with lots of purple loosestrife is soon a wetland with little wildlife. The champion could well be the purple loosestrife, with each plant capable of producing 2 to 3 million seeds annually. The root system consists of a very thick and hard taproot, and spreading lateral roots. long (45 cm) held atop lance-shaped leaves. The plants grow mainly in wet areas. By the '30s, purple loosestrife was well established along the east coast and spread inland with the construction of waterways, drainage systems, canals, railways and highways. 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). What does purple loosestrife look like? Purple Loosestrife is a highly competitive plant that is capable of rapid growth and spread. 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