Is this a Purple Loosestrife?

green_goAugust 4, 2014

I have been growing this plant for the third season and I can't recall how I got it or what its name is... which is normal considering I'm buying plants like a maniac and in half of the time I forget where and when I got them.
But now is the season for the purple loosestrife show which is blooming everywhere in the wild around and I am starting to get a strong suspicion that the plant I grow and admire for 3 summers is actually one of those invaders which possibly grew from a stray seed on its own... I became fond of it and it would be very hard to part with it, but if it is indeed this obnoxious weed, I guess, I will have to say goodbye to it.
Can you tell me what this is?

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Yes, it sure looks like it. I want to say I really admire your willingness to part with it given its invasive tendencies.

I live near a pond (on a commons area) and just found a few loosestrife plants growing down near the water this year. I have to get down there and yank them. I also walk in the subdivision and a couple people have them growing in their yards. I'd like to give them the picture that I'm linking and beg them to please shovel prune before our very shallow pond turns purple.

Here is a link that might be useful: what purple loosestrife can do

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 7:18PM
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Judging by the photo above, I'd say chances are pretty good that's purple loosestrife which is listed as invasive (see link below).

Google your state's list of invasive species to confirm that what's growing in your garden bed is either prohibited or else otherwise extremely limited for purchase. The botanical name is Lythrum salicaria.

If you're looking for something similar to plant in its place once you remove it, check out Liatris spicata/spiked gayfeather which is also blooming now and isn't invasive.

And hats off to you for recognizing that you were likely growing an invasive species.

Here is a link that might be useful: Purple Loosestrife

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 7:26PM
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karin_mt(4 MT)

There is a sterile version of this plant that is not supposed to spread. I had it at my last house but didn't live there long enough to see how true that was, but in the couple of years I had it, it didn't budge. I wonder if this is the well-behaved type? Has it shown any tendency to spread?

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 7:46PM
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Even the "sterile" variety Morden's Gleam was it ? Anyway, it's self-sterile, I think, but not sterile against other seed lines.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 7:52PM
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see link regarding "sterile" versions. Snipped:

2. Is my garden variety (cultivar) of Purple Loosestrife safe?
No. Originally many garden varieties of purple loosestrife such as Morden Pink, Morden Gleam or Dropmore Purple were considered to be sterile (did not produce seed), safe horticultural cultivars. Recent scientific studies have shown that these varieties are indeed capable of pollen and seed production. These plants can readily cross pollinate with other garden varieties, as well as wild loosestrife populations. In a Manitoba study, Morden Pink cultivars were planted near a wetland with purple loosestrife and six months later all Morden Pink plant produced viable seed. The majority of wild infestations of purple loosestrife are the result of garden escapes.

Here is a link that might be useful: Is any purple loosestrife sterile?

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 8:16PM
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ladygladys(z5b/6a NEPA)

That so sucks that it is invasive! It is such a beautiful flower and I occasionally see it growing on medians on the highways.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 10:49PM
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karin_mt(4 MT)

Great info, thanks! Looks like this loosestrife can be added to the Great Shovel Prune Chronicles.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 11:47PM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

Yes, it's invasive and it's been around for a long time. When I was a kid in the early 50s, the wet areas in upstate NY were filled with it. It was one of the first "wild" flowers whose name I learned.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 6:07AM
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I've seen canals filled with it in Nebraska, beautiful but vile.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 7:12AM
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Interesting, the apparent lack of a need for substantiation of the claim that purple loosestrife cultivars, actually located in typical garden situations, can lose their self-incompatability (viz the inability to self-fertilize).

The Manitoba study involved experimentally planting 'Morden Pink' along natural waterways. In other words, it indicates, but doesn't prove that purple loosestrife cultivars planted in garden situations can be prone to this problem.

Below; actual proof.
Picture; Nov 7, 2011.
The garden is in King City, Ontario.
The cultivar ('Rosy Gem') has been cut down, prior to removal.
You can see the line of purple loosestrife seedlings below the edge of the lawn.

So far, I've only seen this in gardens with sprinkler systems or which were otherwise kept well watered; matches the waterways bit.

That Liatris spicata or it's cultivars are a match for the show put on by (or I'd say the beauty of) various purple loosestrife cultivars is, as far as I'm concerned, a joke.
On the other hand, garden-generated evidence for avoiding the use of horticultural purple loosestrife (where legal) is in.

Sorry bees.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 12:07PM
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