Pest Management – Invasive Plant Control Purple Loosestrife – Lythrum salicaria Conservation Practice Job Sheet NH-595 Purple Loosestrife Lythrum salicaria is native to Eurasia and was first reported from the northeastern coast of North America in the 1800’s. Purple loosestrife stem tissue develops air spaces … In extensive field trials, these little beetles had proven themselves to be effective biological control agents for the all-too-common purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria). Purple loosestrife, Lythrum salicaria L., (Fig. Because of the flower’s attractive appearance, the species of plant is also used for landscape purposes. The purple loosestrife can produce 50 shoots, which tends to suffocate other plants and eventually hinder it from photosynthesizing and respiring. As the purple loosestrife grows in a wetland, it aggressively invades native ecosystems. It’s taken over wetlands in every state in the US except Florida. Its 50 stems are four-angled and glabrous to pubescent. chokes out native plants. (click image to enlarge) Spring purple loosestrife and native wetland look-a-like stems from left: two-year-old plant, one-year-old plant, Steeplebush ( Spiraea tomentosa ), Swamp Loosestrife ( Decodon verticillatus ), Great Water Dock ( Rumex britannica ). An exact date will be … The leaves attach to its stem in an alternating pattern. It has leaves that are arranged in pairs or whorls and magenta flower spikes with 5 - 7 petals per flower that are present for most of the summer. The best time to control purple loosestrife is in late June, July and early August, when it is in flower, plants are easily recognized, and before it goes to seed. the purple loosestrife biological control program. As seeds propagate in these wet environments, they reduce the fitness of native plants. Proliferation of the purple loosestrife is often associated with diversity loss of vegetation. The beetles will arrive near the end of May. If allowed, the purple loosestrife will out-compete native plants and will have negative ecological implications. Once flower petals start to drop from the bottom of the spike, the plant begins to produce seed. 61 DRAFT IC 4011 (Rev. Recent assessments demonstrate that the leaf-feeding beetle introductions have c… Without native primary producers, we will see the effect of bottom-up controls in this ecosystem. This is a way in which scientist try to control the purple loosestrife. is with controlled herbicides OR by pulling out the entire plant and its roots, black bagging them (be sure to tie the bag up tight!) This may be one of the few benefits which the flower introduces to Michigan environments. Since 1997 hundreds of volunteers across the state have shared in the fun of rearing Cellas and releasing them into local, infested wetlands. Though the species does not generally benefit the environment;for beekeepers, the purple loosestrife serves as a source of nectar for pollinators. Purple loosestrife will not be eradicated from most wetlands where it presently occurs, but its abundance can be significantly reduced so that is only a small component of the plant community, not a dominant one. Purple loosestrife creates dense canopies which can’t be penetrated by native organisms such as; fish, birds, and other small mammals. APPENDIX E – VEGETATIVE EROSION CONTROL GUIDELINES FOR NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT ... include autumn olive and purple loosestrife. 3) Computerized slide presentation materials for use at association meetings to introduce the ideas behind control of purple loosestrife. Of course it’s pink/purple flowers catches the eye, but is it benefiting our Michigan ecosystems? Once introduced, it takes 3 to 15 years for the beetles to get purple loosestrife under control. Purple Loosestrife is on Michigan's Invasive Species watch list. The following simple guidelines will ensure that your efforts to control the spread of purple loosestrife are effective. Purple Loosestrife is such a pretty plant! © Merlin Entertainments (SEA LIFE) Limited. Allowing the perennial plant to establish is detrimental to native wetland plants in Michigan. Galeruclla beetles eat only purple loosestrife and pose no threat to humans or pets.