Purple loosestrife is an invasive perennial plant with spikes of bright purple flowers that bloom in mid- to late summer.
Purple loosestrife has spikes of bright purple or magenta flowers that bloom in July to September. Its stems are square and six-sided. Long or lance-shaped leaves grow up to 4 inches long and are arranged in pairs or whorls of three along the stems. In autumn, the leaves often turn red for about two weeks before fading and falling off. Purple loosestrife can grow to six feet tall.
This plant grows in colonies in disturbed fresh and brackish wetlands and other moist or marshy sites, including ditches, roadsides, wet meadows, and along the edges of ponds, rivers and reservoirs.
Native to Eurpoe and Asia, purple loosestrife is found throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Purple loosestrife spreads rapidly via seeds, roots and stem fragments. A single mature plant can produce more than 2 million seeds per year. Wind, water and animals spread the seeds, which grow into new seedlings the following spring. It can reproduce asexually when its thick, fleshy roots produce new shoots, allowing the plant to spread about one foot per year. New plants can also grow from stem fragments when plants are cut or mowed down.