Purple loosestrife Facts

Purple loosestrife Facts
Purple loosestrife is herbaceous plant that belongs to the loosestrife family. It originates from Europe and Asia. Purple loosestrife was introduced to North America during the 19th century. Soon afterwards, it managed to occupy the entire continent. Purple loosestrife is classified as noxious weed in almost all countries of the USA and Canada. It grows in the moist habitats such as marshes, areas near the streams, lakes, ditches and canals. Some varieties of purple loosestrife are cultivated in ornamental purposes and used in folk medicine.
Interesting Purple loosestrife Facts:
Purple loosestrife produces several, reddish-purple stems that can reach 4 to 7 feet in height. Stem is square-shaped on the cross section and covered with hairs.
Purple loosestrife has woody, strong taproot with several fibrous, lateral roots which provide stability of the plant and ensure constant supply with nutrients from the soil.
Purple loosestrife has long, narrow, lanceolate leaves with smooth edges. They can be hairy or smooth and soft at touch. Purple loosestrife has green leaves that are oppositely arranged on the stem or gathered in whorls. Leaves are sessile (they do not have leaf stalks).
Purple loosestrife produces rose-purple flowers arranged in dense, spike-like clusters on top of the stem. Flowers contain both types of reproductive organs.
Purple loosestrife blooms from July to September and attracts bees, that are responsible for the pollination of this plant.
Fruit of purple loosestrife is capsule filled with numerous seed.
One plant is able to produce 2.5 million seed per year.
Purple loosestrife propagates via seed and shoots that grow from the root.
Purple loosestrife was used for the control of the erosion in the past, until people became aware of the invasive potential of this plant.
Purple loosestrife easily occupies new areas, creates narrow waterways and disrupts aquatic habitats. It also quickly eliminates native plants, such as cattail, which plays important role in the nesting of waterfowls.
Scientists believe that purple loosestrife conquers 200.000 hectares of "healthy" (loosestrife-free) wetlands in the USA each year.
People use natural enemies of purple loosestrife which feed on the leaves of this plant to eradicate it from the occupied habitats. The most commonly used insects are Galerucella beetle and Hylobius Transversovitta Tus. Other measures include application of herbicides which inevitably kill other plant species in the area and pollute the ground and water.
Flowers of purple loosestrife are valuable for the beekeepers due to large quantities of nectar that is essential for the manufacture of honey.
Tonic made of purple loosestrife can be used to stop the bleeding, accelerate healing of wounds and in treatment of diarrhea and dysentery.
Purple loosestrife is perennial plant which means that it can survive more than 2 years in the wild.

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