Weed of the month submitted by Tina Travis
Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) is an erect perennial herb with a woody stem and whirled leaves. It has the ability to reproduce prolifically and any sunny or partly shaded wetland is vulnerable to invasion. Disturbed areas with exposed soil accelerate the process by providing ideal conditions for seed germination.
* 2 to 6 feet tall
* Seeds viable up to 20 years
* Four sided stem
* Leaves opposite
* Flower is purple
* Flowers have five to seven petals
* Flowers from June thru September
* Pieces of roots or stems can produce new plants
* Single, mature plant capable of producing up to three
million seeds per year
* Also reproduces through underground stems.
Purple loosestrife will rapidly form dense stands that completely dominate the area eliminating native vegetation. Infested wetland areas become a monoculture of purple loosestrife. It is listed as one of the “World’s 100 Worst Invasives” on the Global Invasive Species Database.
Tina is with El Paso County. The first purple loosestrife plants were identified in 2010 along Murphy Road. The area is monitored closely every year and additional populations have been found in the Woodlake area. Education, grant funding, UACWMA, the NRCS and assistance from the Colorado Department of Agriculture are all resources that have assisted in the control of this species through integrated pest management practices.