Nature table: Purple Loosetrife

Purple loosestrife, with its tall spikes of purple blossom, is a spectacular summer wildflower and is in full bloom at present.

A native perennial, it grows in wet places, often in association with meadowsweet — along the banks of lakes, rivers and canals, in ditches and wet meadows, but not in acid bogs. It has also been cultivated as a garden flower. But if you look this species up on the internet most of the sites dealing with it will be devoted to ways to kill it.

This is because it has become invasive and choked up water courses in some parts of the world, including the US, and New Zealand, where it is not native. It is not invasive here because we have several species of beetle, weevil and caterpillar that specialise in feeding on it and keeping it under control. It has several uses in herbal medicine and the name probably refers to a belief in it’s ability to reduce stress and conflict.


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