Connect with us


Report an Invasive Species

Wand loosestrife

Wand loosestrife

Wand loosestrife

(lythrum virgatum)

Priority: -  Prevent

Tags: Biocontrol

Identification and Reproduction

Identification: 

  • Wand loosestrife was a cultivated to be sterile but recent studies have shown that this may not be the case as it has begun to hybridize and cross pollinate with purple loosestrife to produce viable seeds. 
  • This perenial wetland plant grows up to 1.2 m tall. 

  • Stems are square-shaped, woody and covered in hairs. Nodes are evenly spaced along the stem. 
  • Leaves are narrow with a heart-shaped based that connects to the stem. Lower leaves are often found in whorls. 
  • Flowers are found near the terminal end of stems and are reddish-purple to magenta in colour. Each flower has 5-7 petals with narrow bracts underneath. Blooms occur from April to August. 

Reproduction: 

  • Reproduces by seed as well as vegetatively from rhizome segments. 
  • It is a prolific seed producer; one single plant can produce several million seeds in a growing season. 
  • Seed germination is greater than 90%.

Habitat & Ecology

  • Invades disturbed habitats and marshy wetlands. 
  • Thrives in full sun. 

Impacts

Ecological:

  • Out-competes and displaces native vegetation. 
  • Alters senstive riparian ecosystems. 
  • Infestations can clog and slow water flow. 

Management

Prevention is a high priority for this plant. 

  • Refrain from growing this plant in your garden.

Mechanical/Manual Control: 

  • Small infestations or young plants can be hand-pulled or dug out. Ensure that all root fragments are removed from soil. 
  • Do not mow as this will spread plant fragments further. 

Biological Control: 

  • Since it is related to purple loosestrife biocontrol agents will also be successful on wand loosestife. Galerucella bettles have been the most effective on infestations. 

Resources

For more information check out the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network datapage on European wand loosestrife here.  

Header photo (Stefan.lefnaer).