CFAES Give Today
Pesticide Safety Education Program

Ohio State University Extension


Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)

Description: A herb in the loosestrife family. Loosestrife plants grow from four to ten feet high, depending upon conditions, and produce showy flowers throughout much of the summer. Mature plants can have from 30 to 50 stems arising from a single rootstock.

Life cycle: Perennial

Habitat: Invades many wetland types including freshwater wet meadows, tidal and non-tidal marshes, river and stream banks, pond edges, reservoirs, and ditches.

Flower: Magenta-colored flower spikes.

Fruit: Reddish brown seeds eclosed in capsules.

Leaf: Opposite or whorled leaves. Leaves are lanceshaped, stalkless, and heart-shaped or rounded at the base.

Stem: Square woody stem.

Root: Tap root with underground stems.

The problem is….adapts readily to natural and disturbed wetlands. As it establishes and expands, it outcompetes and replaces native grasses, sedges and other flowering plants that provide a higher quality source of nutrition for wildlife. The highly invasive nature allows it to form dense, homogeneous stands that restrict native wetland plant species and reduce the habitat for waterfowl.

Purple loosestrife leaves, CE Young 6673

Purple loosestrife, CE Young 6669

Purple loosestrife flower closeup, CE Young 7210

Purple loosestrife, CE Young 6675

Purple loosestrife, CE Young 7200