COMMON NAME

Garden loosestrife


FULL SCIENTIFIC NAME

Lysimachia vulgaris L.


FAMILY NAME COMMON

Primrose family


FAMILY SCIENTIFIC NAME

Lysimachia vulgaris


IMAGES


Flower close-up

Flowers

Habit

Fruits

NOMENCLATURE/SYNONYMS

Synonyms: None


DESCRIPTION

Botanical Glossary

Lysimachia vulgaris is an herbaceous perennial with erect stems up to 1 m (3.3 ft.) in height and long, stolon-like rhizomes that can run 10 m (33 ft.) long. The leaves of this plant are opposite or whorled. They have small glands that are black or orange in color and soft hairs beneath. They are lanceolate to laceolate-ovate in shape, 7-12 cm (2.75-4.75 in.) in length and 1.5-4 cm (0.6-1.5 in.) in width. The middle and upper leaves have short petioles and are acuminate. The inflorescence is a terminal, leafy panicle that appears June-September. The flowers are have five yellow petals and are 1.2-2 cm (0.5-0.75 in.) across. The lobes of the calyx are red-margined and 3.5-5 mm (0.15-0.2 in.) long. The fruits are dry capsules. Page References Bailey 785, Fernald 1140, Gleason & Cronquist 222, Holmgren 201, Magee & Ahles 824, Peterson & McKenny 140. See reference section below for full citations.


SIMILAR SPECIES

Lysimachia punctata L. (spotted loosestrife) The main differences between Lysimachia vulgaris and L. punctata is that the calyx of L. punctata lacks the red margin, and its inflorescence tends to be denser.


REPRODUCTIVE/DISPERSAL MECHANISMS

The seeds of this plant are most likely water-dispersed. However, the main method of dispersal for this plant is via rhizomes.


DISTRIBUTION

Lysimachia vulgaris is native to Europe. It has become naturalized in the northeastern part of Canada. In the United States it has been reported from all northeastern states, west to Minnesota and Illinois and south to Kentucky. There have also been reports from Washington, Oregon, Montana and Colorado. It has been reported from all New England states.


HISTORY OF INTRODUCTION IN NEW ENGLAND

This plant was most likely brought over by settlers from Europe for use in gardens. The earliest records in New England are from the early 1900's.


HABITATS IN NEW ENGLAND

Edge, Herbaceous Wetland, Lake or Pond, Open Disturbed Area, River or Stream, Roadside, Salt Marsh, Wet Meadow, Yard or Garden

Lysimachia vulgaris prefers moist soil, and will invade fens, wet woods, lake shores, rocky river shores and riparian zones.


THREATS

Lysimachia vulgaris presents a similar threat as the serious invasive Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife). In Washington state it has been reported as possibly outcompeting Lythrum salicaria in wetland habitats. The rhizomes spread readily. Though its populations have not yet reached the numbers of Lythrum salicaria populations, it has the potential to do so.


MANAGEMENT LINKS

Washington State Department of Ecology


DOCUMENTATION NEEDS

Documentation required: Herbarium specimen or mounted snippet of the inflorescence.
Best time for documentation: Summer.


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Integrated Taxonomic Information System
Has general taxonomic information about the species.

The PLANTS database
General information and a map

Washington State Department of Ecology
General information including control

King County Washington Department of Natural Resources and Parks
Photographs and general information


REFERENCES

Bailey, L.H.  1949.  Manual of Cultivated Plants.  Macmillan, New York.

Fernald, M.L.  1950.  Gray's Manual of Botany 8th edition.  American Book Company, New York.

Gleason H.A. and A.C. Cronquist.  1991.  Manual of Vascular Plants of the Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. 2nd ed.  New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.

Holmgren N.H. 1998. Illustrated Companion to Gleason and Cronquist's Manual.  New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.

Magee D.W and H.E. Ahles. 1999.  Flora of the Northeast. University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst.

Peterson R.T. and M. McKenny. 1968. A field Guide to Wildflowers of Northeastern and North-central North America.  Houghton Mifflin, Boston.

Ray, Jr., J.D.  1956.  The Genus Lysimachia in the New World.  Illinois Biological Monographs 24 (3-4): 63-64.

USDA, NRCS.  2001.  The PLANTS Database, Version 3.1. (http://plants.usda.gov).  National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.