Purple Loosestrife is a
perennial plant of the UK, typically found growing in water margins and damp soils, to a mature height of up to 120cm.
Despite being named 'Purple' Loosestrife the plant's flower colour is more accurately described as a vivid 'Magenta' (reddish-purple). Purple Loosestrife bears a passing resemblance to Yellow Loosestrife and Garden Loosestrife, as they have long flower spikes and elongated leaves in common, but is unrelated. Purple Loosestrife has very different flowers (with six ruffled petals rather than four overlapping petals) and belongs to a different family.
Botanic classification and naming: Purple Loosestrife is a member of the Loosestrife (Lythraceae) family. The genus name
'Lythrum' identifies the plant as a Loosestrife and its species name 'salicaria' means 'Willow-like plant (referring to the leaves)'.
Benefits: Purple Loosestrife provides food for many insects: its flowers provide nectar for bees and butterflies and are eaten by the Loosestrife Flower Weevil; its leaves provide food for moth caterpillars, beetles and weevils; and the roots provide food for larvae of the Loosestrife Root Weevil. As Purple Loosestrife likes damp soil, the plant can be used as part of a wildlife bog garden.
Benefits to wildlife are also indicated with orange icons in the plant profile bar at the top.