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Purple Loosestrife

Photo by Steven Flint

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Common Name: Purple loosestrife
Scientific Name: Lythrum salicaria
Origin: Europe and Asia


Purple loosestrife is an erect, herbaceous perennial that grows 3-7 ft. tall. It is easily identified by its showy, magenta flowers from July to September. Linear-shaped leaves grow oppositely along square stems. This aggressive plant spreads both vegetatively and by abundant seed dispersal.


Purple loosestrife grows in a variety of wet habitats, including wet meadows, marshes, river banks and the edges of ponds and reservoirs. It tolerates a wide variety of moisture, nutrients and pH conditions.


Loosestrife invades both natural and disturbed wetlands and alters their ecological structures and functions.


Manual pulling of individual plants or small infestations can be effective. Selective herbicide treatments can be used for larger infestations, but there are also biological control options available that are effective in suppressing large infestations.

Regional Distribution


WNY PRISM Priority

Tier 4 – Local Control

Invasive Species Priorities – Tier Chart


Purple loosestrife was introduced as an ornamental plant as well as through ship ballast. Purple loosestrife spreads through seeds and can produce new plants from stem and root fragments.

Purple loosestrife is a prohibited species in New York State – for more information on Prohibited and Regulated Species, visit

Native Alternatives

Foxglove beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis)

Summer phlox (Phlox paniculata)

Rough-leaved goldenrod (Solidago rugose)