Terrestrial Plants: Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)

Origin and Date of Introduction: Europe; mid-1800s.

Pathway / Media: Disturbed lands, waterways.

Reason for Introduction: Accidental and deliberate (as an ornamental).

Preferred Habitat: Riparian zones.

Ecological / Economic Damage: Degrades habitat, replaces native riparian vegetation and affects animals dependent on natives plants. Dense mats of purple loosestrife blanket areas throughout the South and the nation, and may soon enter Louisiana.

Control Options: Biocontrol insects for larger infestations; mechanical removal for small populations.

Purple Loosestrife

Photo: Liz West, Flickr

Futher Reading: USDA Invasive Species Information Center