Least wanted: Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)

Least wanted: Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)

For those of you in Eurasia,
this purple-petaled plant is endemic,
but here in North America,
we have striven to strike
down this invasive wetland
weed with biological controls
of weevils and beetles who
rapidly feed on its
roots, seeds and leaves.

Its fecundity astounding
at one to two million seeds
per several inflorescences,
dropped by the summer breeze
and falling to float atop
inundated soils,
each germinating capsule
a bane to marsh and man
when the weather warms
up post-primavera.

Try to fight your way
through an eight foot stand
and get greeted by bees
who know no other
pollen to attend.

This mighty monoculture
steals away native flora diversity,
alters entire food webs and
crowds open space otherwise
used by waterfowl to build nests
and procreate.

So, when out and about
in the States, check your
county’s noxious weed list,
and if spotted,
report said terrible purple
perennial clonal colonies to
the proper authorities before
pressing its petals in your
scrapbook and perpetuating
its Pandora’s box story.

About tyler4turtles

I am an avid photographer, poet, ecologist, bookworm, blogger, art enthusiast and runner who calls Montana home but lives in Oregon.
Image | This entry was posted in Art, Nature, Photography, Poetry and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Least wanted: Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)

  1. Might be an interesting series to post (with pictures) invasive species. Here in Hawaii there is support from the state for eradication of some and great diligence on keeping out more. Hawaii has an incredible number of species found no where else and these are being threatened. As lovely as nature is it is important to understand the problem of transporting plants and critters where they are not native. Thanks for bringing up the topic that more people need to know about.

    • Thank you! I have been combatting invasive plant species in Oregon for 5 years and have a broad assortment of photographs and local knowledge. I have written many grants that have been funded by the Oregon Department of Agriculture and Bureau of Land Management to control and map infestations of gorse, Japanese and Himalayan knotweed and purple loosestrife. Yesterday, it occurred to me that the blog-o-sphere might be the perfect medium for spreading the word about weeds. I am planning on posting more ‘noxious’ poems and photographs in the future. I do know that Hawaii has the largest infestation of gorse in the world, even more than Australia. Such a beautiful island with so much diversity that is being tarnished – sadly, alien species outnumber the endemic. Have you any problems with knotweed or loosestrife? Hope you have a wonderful day 🙂

      • I’m not sure about knotweed and loosestrife here on the Big Island but something I will look into. After reading and thinking more about your post I will be looking into invasive species more in depth and write up a few pieces on infestations for better awareness. Aloha, Dohn

  2. Gallivanta says:

    Your poem and photo are a great way to make people notice the noxious.

  3. Reblogged this on The ancient eavesdropper and commented:

    In recognition of Oregon Invasive Weed Awareness Week from May 19-25, I am re-posting a poem and photo on a dangerously beautiful noxious weed called Purple Loosestrife. “This years message from ODA Noxious Weed Control Program is H.E.L.P. – Habitat, Environment and Land Protection. You can help protect wildlife, natural environment and agricultural lands by controlling invasive weeds wherever you reside!”

  4. vsperry says:

    thanks for stopping by my blog…we have the dreaded loosestrife here on the east coast but there are huge amounts of nasty plant life that is taking over our streams, meadows and woods…and it’s difficult to eradicate the massive amounts of them.

    • You are most welcome! And thank you for stopping by mine and sharing your invasive plant story. When purple loosestrife infests large acreages of wetland, it can never truly be eradicated. However, with the aid of biological controls (e.g., beetles and weevils), infestations can be contained through a reduction of above and below ground biomass and seed production. In 5-10 years time, bio-controls can reduce 80-90% cover of flowering plants, although you still want residual plants left over to feed the bio-controls so they don’t die off (it’s a boom-bust cycle). Native vegetation usually re-colonizes, but sometimes wetland plugs need to be planted and bare ground hydro-seeded to further the restoration process. Hopefully your State has been releasing bio-controls every year. It precludes the use of herbicides and does not affect other native plants or animals. Hope you are having a good day!
      Cheers,
      Tyler 🙂

      • vsperry says:

        I don’t think they’ve come up with bio controls for Japanese honeysuckle, Japanese stilt grass and floribunda rose yet. I will check to see what they have worked on though…

  5. kiwiskan says:

    Funny how a treasured plant in one place can become a pest in another

    • Yes, very ironic! One person’s junk is another’s treasure. Weeds and antiques are of the same mold, following you from garden or garage sale to wherever you go.
      Cheers,
      Tyler 🙂

  6. Pingback: Lythrurn salicaria | Find Me A Cure

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