Invasive SpeciesPurple loosestrife

Lythrum salicaria
E. Waterboro
ID Confirmed
Quality checked by pparent
Peer reviewed by pparent
Field Notes
2009. Not that long ago. But, during this time, our search begins. The MMS Loosestrife search. 2010, the date where we have identified the invasive species, Loosestrife. The students of MMS Aroostook 7th grade team have found a shocking discovery, Purple Loosestrife is growing on campus. And it might spread. But, as the years go by and new students study the Loosestrife, they realized it has ever spread since the day to was discovered. Soon, suspicion rose throughout the team causing a new and thorough search of the plant. Sure enough, students discovered that an invasive bug was eating the seeds. A new character was introduced to the story, the Galerucella. Shocking and exciting, the Galerucella worked hard to keep the plant from spreading. The tiny bug kept the plant under control for the whole time! A closer look at the plant revealed the Galerucella was not alone. Japanese beetles were munching away at the leaves of the Loosestrife. Together, the team contained the invasive plant while getting a meal out of it. Where did these invasive species come from? Did the flood of 2007 bring Loosestrife into MMS campus? Those are some of the burning questions in the minds of 2015 students. Us. 2015 students grouped together to find the answer to the question, did Loosestrife spread? My group was on of the students to find the answer to this question. But, of course, we had to go through protocol. Step one was to visit the original plant. We noticed it was brown and dead looking. This was new to MMS and we wondered if there would even be a plant for next year to study. Step two was to go to our area, do a ten minutes search, and take field notes and a survey on a plant we found. Some things we had to do is find the latitude and longitude (the coordinates of the plant and area) differences with the organism we found in our short search, what habitat we were looking in for Loosestrife and much more. Of course, we finished our survey and pictures of the organism. During our timed search, we found the quadrant very useful. It helped narrow down our vision to one part of the marshy habitat. The plant we decided to dedicate our search to looked nothing like Loosestrife so we knew we were trying to prove why this plant was not like Lythrum salicaria. The first dead giveaway was that the stem to this stranger plant was round and not square like Loosestrife. The second, obviously, it did not have purple flowers (or any flowers for that matter). Surprisingly, the leaf margin to this plant and Loosestrife were exactly the same, smooth. But, at last, the leaf arrangement did not have opposite but alternative instead. Knowing this evidence, the plant we found is NOT purple Loosestrife. I noticed while our team community was studying the biodiversity around us and how it affects the plant, we didn't know the vector on how Loosestrife got here or the biocontroling bug, Galerucella. The short Loosestrife population on our campus was said to be brought by the flood of 2007. Sadly, this is only on theory and not even proven! The competition to find this answer and many more is still in session. When will we know? How will we know? We just have to wait. By - 65GG61 65CG52 65OG50 65DD48 65JF49
A sketch of our study site.
Supporting Evidence
Photo of my evidence.
The plant that we have found does not have opposite leaves but alternate instead. Therefore, it cannot be a Purple Loosestrife.
Photo of my evidence.
The plant that we have identified to NOT be a Purple Loosestrife has no sign of purple flowers (or any flowers at all). Knowing this, it cannot be a Purple Loosestrife.
Photo of my evidence.
The plant we have found does not have a square stem. This is a dead giveaway that this plant is NOT a Purple Loosestrife.
Species Observation: Species Looked For
Did you find it?: 
I think I did not find it
Scientific name:
Lythrum salicaria
Common name:
Purple loosestrife
Sampling method: 
Quadrat (user-placement)
Photo of our sampling method.
Place Studied
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Map this species
N 43.580881 °
W -70.702959 °
Observation Site Information
A photo of our study site.
Upland - Developed areas
Trip Information
MMS Wetland Area
Trip date: 
Wed, 2015-09-23 04:39
Town or city: 
E. Waterboro
Type of investigation: 
Species and Habitat Survey
Habitat Observations
Species diversity: 
5 different species
Evidence of vectors: 
Paved road
Walking trail
Tree canopy cover: 
Between 1/4 and 1/2
Soil moisture: 


I am very curious to see what other teams found on the MMS property. I look forward to updates on your story. What a great observation and very interesting research project.

Hi I am one of the students who worked on this project, 65GG51. I am very pleased to see you enjoyed our hard work and dedication to put this piece together. I hope, in the future, people will continue to enjoy this work and appreciate the facts and reasons we used to tell why it is not Purple Loosestrife. I am glad to hear your positive comment on our investigation.


Thank you, 65GG61, 65CG52, 65OG50, 65DD48, 65JF49, and 65GG51,

For sharing your multi-year tale of mystery, research, observation, and discovery. I loved reading your field notes! You asked some great questions about how the loosestrife got there in the first place. What makes you think it was the 2007 flood?

Do you know if galerucella is keeping purple loosestrife contained in other areas of Maine? Can it beat back an established, dense population of purple loosestrife as well as it beat back the smaller population that you had on campus? Could you use the Vital Signs database to find other populations of purple loosestrife and other researchers to help you answer that question?

Keep up the great work, Massabesic Researchers!


Hello, I am on of the students at MMS middle school, 65GG51. We hope to soon find the answer to your question and think of it as a challenge you must put a lot of thought into. If we do find out, we will definitely put it into our context whenever it is discovered. Thank you for taking the time and reading our investigation!


It was great to get the back story on what you are all studying. I am curious if you considered alternative explanations for why the loosestrife hasn't spread. It's interesting to think it could be the beetles working together, but I was wondering if soil or weather could explain it, or maybe if only one individual was spread to that location to begin with, maybe it wasn't a genetically fit individual to being with, or even the possible impact of so many field scientists in the habitat. I don't know the answer, but it's always good to try to think of all the plausible and possible explanations and then rule them out or rule them in. :)

Thanks again for sharing all this detail on the cool work you are doing. Keep us posted on what you find (or don't find :).


Hello, I am a student at MMS, 65GG51. I am very happy to see you enjoyed our field notes and other facts on the investigation. Of course, we will keep you posted and be as specific as possible of how we came to find or not find something. I hope you will stick around the MMS research to find answers to any questions you have or experiences we want to share.


The correct username for one of the students is 65GG51! Thank you for you time reading our studies! :)