Invasive SpeciesPurple loosestrife

Lythrum salicaria
FOUND by Kuikku
ID Confirmed
Quality checked by Linda McD
Peer reviewed by Linda McD
Field Notes
My mom and i were driving up 11th avenue, Madawaska ME around the end of August. Just across from the elementary school, tall plant at the edge of an uninhabited property, caught her eye. She tells me that she's been planing on digging the plant up for a while and putting it in one of her gardens. At the time, I didn't think anything of it, but two days later, my science teacher introduced this website to my class. She uses her previous observations to demonstrate how to work the site. She begins to talk about this invasive plan called purple loosestrife. As she shows us pictures, the plant begins to look very similar to the plant my mom had dug up the previous day. It's when my teacher explains the location of where the plant USED to be, that i realized that my mom had just dug up and planted an invasive species. I stopped my teacher and explained to her what had happened to the purple loosestrife. How coincidental? My teacher soon assigned us a project. We would have to pick a species and try to prove whether or not it is really what we thought it was. It didn't take long for me to decide which species I would pick. I recently found out that BEFORE my mom took the plant and planted it, we already had TWO purple loosestrifes on our property! Now that she knows they are invasive, she will make an effort cut off the flowers every fall so that the plant can't reproduce and spread. They're all in my back yard at the moment, two in one flower bed, one in another.
Supporting Evidence
Photo of my evidence.
On purple loosestrife, the flowers are at the top of the plant, along it's stem. Each flower has 5-7 pedals are that are magenta, and are arranged in a star-like shape.
Photo of my evidence.
The stem to purple loosestrife is always square. I cut a part of the stem to show the shape, like my teacher Four Seasons did, to prove that it is the same plant.
Photo of my evidence.
Purple loosestrife's leaves are always opposite of each other. The leaves are also in bunches called, whorled. Just like the plant we have. There are little white hairs on the leaves, too.
Species Observation: Species Looked For
Did you find it?: 
I think I found it
Scientific name:
Lythrum salicaria
Common name:
Purple loosestrife
Sampling method: 
Just looking around
Photo of our sampling method.
Place Studied
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Map this species
N 47.342881 °
W -68.342653 °
Observation Site Information
A photo of our study site.
Upland - Developed areas
Trip Information
What a Story: Purple Loosestrife
Trip date: 
Sat, 2011-09-03 10:00
Town or city: 
Type of investigation: 
Species Survey
Saint John


Ha! Too funny, your mom already had some loosestrife before? Ask her where she got the first ones. Great work on your field notes and your pictures came out awesome.

Well, first of all, thanks for the compliments, teach!! We got them from my grandmother down in Trenton (near Bar Harbor). My mom said that it wouldn't surprise her if the two other purple loosestrifes were twenty to thirty years old!!

Great work and excellent documentation. You photos are beautiful and highlight the identifying characteristics. Your story is also a good lesson on why many of these plants have become invasive. Keep up the good work and educating others so their gardens aren't swamped out with purple loosestrife.

Kudos to you and your mom for finding a way to address both her desire to have loosestrife in her garden and your concern for managing the spread of a known invasive species.

Your story is a great one, and one that speaks to how and why humans move species around the globe. Your incredible photos show how beautiful this plant really is (and why gardeners want it!).

I want YOUR square stem photo on the VS species card!