Polk County Conservation

Purple Loosestrife

  • My neighbor has this beautiful purple flower in her backyard. She said it was purple loosestrife and gave me a start of it. I was at the garden center today and asked them how to care for it. They said purple loosestrife is a noxious weed in Iowa and I shouldn't plant it. Would it really be wrong to put some in my garden?

    Please don’t plant it! Purple Loosestrife, Lythrum salicaria, is a noxious weed that is invading wetlands, river and stream banks, pond edges, and ditches across the country. Purple loosestrife adapts very easily to wetland habitats. One mature plant may have as many as thirty flowering stems capable of producing an estimated two to three million tiny seeds per year. As it establishes itself, it out competes and replaces native grasses, sedges, and other flowering plants that provide more nutrition for wildlife. It will take over your flower bed and the seeds will spread to neighboring habitats. Purple loosestrife was introduced to northern U.S. and Canada in the 1800s for ornamental and medicinal uses. Now it is illegal for garden centers in Iowa and surrounding states to sell purple loosestrife.

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    Administration Office
    12130 NW 128th St
    Granger, IA 50109

    P: (515) 323-5300
    F: (515) 323-5354

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