WHAT IS IT?
Purple loosestrife is a plant that was accidentally introduced in to the United States and then distributed as an ornamental. It is most easily identified during its flowering period from July to September. This spike shaped “purple” flower can be seen in ditches, streams, rivers, lakes, wetlands, and other moist, shallow water sites. This plant is an upright, hardy perennial, four to eight feet tall and most often found in a group.
Purple loosestrife invades marshes, ditches and lakeshores, quickly replacing cattails and other native wetland plants. These plants form dense stands that ducks, geese, muskrats and frogs cannot use for food or cover.
Purple loosestrife will grow from the roots of an established plant, however, the plants spread mainly by seed. Having up to 300,000 per stalk, these tiny seeds can live in the soil and water for many years and can be transported great distances by humans, animals and water. The seeds can be transported to other wetland areas via the mud on birds and ducks feet, in the fur of muskrat, mink and beaver, or on the shells of turtles. Humans can also unknowingly transport the seeds via the mud on their shoes, boots, waders and clothing.