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Lythrum salicaria - L.

Common Name Purple Loosestrife
Family Lythraceae
USDA hardiness 3-10
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Reed swamps at the margins of lakes and slow-flowing rivers, fens and marshes, avoiding acid soils[17].
Range Europe, including Britain, south to N. Africa east to western and northern Asia. N. America..
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Wet Soil Water Plants Semi-shade Full sun
Lythrum salicaria Purple Loosestrife


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Lythrum salicaria Purple Loosestrife
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Summary

Bloom Color: Pink. Main Bloom Time: Late summer, Mid summer. Form: Upright or erect.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Lythrum salicaria is a PERENNIAL growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 3. It is in flower from June to August, and the seeds ripen from August to September. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees, flies.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist or wet soil and can grow in water.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Habitats

 Pond; Bog Garden;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves  Root
Edible Uses: Colouring

Leaves - cooked[13, 46, 61, 105]. Rich in calcium[179]. Root - cooked[13]. An edible dye is obtained from the flowers[13].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antibiotic  Antidiarrhoeal  Astringent  Dysentery  Eczema  Hypoglycaemic  Styptic  Vulnerary


Purple loosestrife is an astringent herb that is mainly employed as a treatment for diarrhoea and dysentery. It can be safely taken by people of all ages and has been used to help arrest diarrhoea in breast-feeding babies[254]. It can also be used to treat heavy periods and inter-menstrual bleeding[254]. Modern research has shown the whole plant to be antibiotic and to be particularly effective against the micro-organism that causes typhus[254]. The flowering plant is antibiotic, highly astringent, hypoglycaemic, styptic and vulnerary[4, 7, 9, 21, 152, 218, 238]. It is valued as an intestinal disinfectant, especially in cases of enteritis[7], an infusion is used internally in the treatment of diarrhoea, internal bleeding, excessive menstruation etc[9, 222, 238]. The flowering plant is harvested in the summer and can be used fresh or dried[9]. Externally, the plant is used as a cleansing and healing wash for wounds, sores, impetigo, eczema, excess vaginal discharge, vaginal itching etc[7, 222, 238, 254]. The powdered plant is used as a haemostatic in cases of severe nosebleeds[7]. The stems are regarded as gum stimulators and are given to children to chew in order to strengthen weak or bleeding gums[7].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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An important new book from PFAF. It focuses on the attributes of plants suitable for food forests, what each can contribute to a food forest ecosystem, including carbon sequestration, and the kinds of foods they yield. The book suggests that community and small-scale food forests can provide a real alternative to intensive industrialised agriculture, and help to combat the many inter-related environmental crises that threaten the very future of life on Earth.

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FOOD FOREST PLANTS

Other Uses

Cosmetic  Dye  Preservative  Tannin  Teeth

A decoction of the plant is impregnated into wood, rope etc to prevent it rotting in water[74]. The leaves contain about 12% tannin, the stems 10.5%, the flowers 13.7% and the roots 8.5%[218]. It is probably these tannins that preserve the wood etc[218]. The powdered plant is used cosmetically in face-packs to counteract reddened skin[7].

Special Uses

Attracts Wildlife  Food Forest

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Container, Massing, Rock garden, Seashore, Specimen. Succeeds in ordinary garden soil, especially if it is damp[1]. Prefers a neutral to alkaline soil[238]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Grows well in marshy soils[24] and succeeds in shallow water at the edges of ponds[56]. Succeeds in full sun or partial shade[188]. A very hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to at least -25°c[187]. This species can be very invasive and has been declared a noxious weed in some countries. Since being introduced in N. America it has invaded native marshlands, florming large areas of dense stands and crowding out many native species[274]. A very ornamental plant[1]. A good bee and butterfly plant[24]. Plants usually self-sow when well sited[200]. Special Features:Invasive, Naturalizing, Attracts butterflies, Suitable for cut flowers. In garden design, as well as the above-ground architecture of a plant, root structure considerations help in choosing plants that work together for their optimal soil requirements including nutrients and water. The root pattern is rhizomatous with underground stems sending roots and shoots along their length [2-1].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Propagation

Seed - sow in the autumn or the spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. If you have sufficient seed it could be worthwhile trying a sowing in situ in the autumn or the spring. Division in March or October[188]. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring. Basal cuttings in the spring[238]. Harvest the shoots with plenty of underground stem when they are about 8 - 10cm above the ground. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Lythrum portulaWater Purslane, Spatulaleaf loosestrifeAnnual0.2 0-0  LMHSNWeWa10 

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.

 

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Expert comment

Author

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Botanical References

17200

Links / References

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Readers comment

This plant is listed in the Federal and State Noxious Weeds and it is illegal to import, sell, offer for sale, or distribute the seeds or the plants of purple loosestrife in any form.   Jul 19 2010 12:00AM

Considered an invasive species.
USDA Plant Database (NRCS)

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