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Loosestrife

Loosestrife

Loosestrife

Loosestrife is a small red flower with white blooms that is a member of the Iris family. It grows very profusely in damp or wet places. The Word loosestrife is from Middle English las, from Old English las and from Old Norse las, "ray, fine flag (of a ship).Purple-loosestrife can be found in wet habitats, such as reedbeds, fens, marshes and riverbanks, where its impressive spikes of magenta flowers rise up among the grasses. Many tall stems can grow from a single root stock. It flowers between June and August, when its nectar becomes a valuable food source for long-tongued insects, such as brimstone butterflies, red-tailed bumblebees and elephant hawk-moths.Introduced into North America in the 19th century, purple-loosestrife is now an invasive weed, forming impenetrable stands that are unsuitable as cover for native animals and shade out native plants.

Loosestrife

Purple loosestrife reproduces both by seed and vegetative propagation which allows it to quickly invade new landscapes. Each flower spike can produce thousands of tiny seeds that are easily dispersed by wind, water, snow, animals, and humans. Purple loosestrife is found throughout Minnesota. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources estimates that infestations have been recorded in 77 of Minnesota's 87 counties, covering 58,000 acres of lake, river, and wetland habitats.Mowing or cutting is not practical for sites where loosestrife is growing in an aquatic or semi-aquatic environment. However, if conditions permit, and if executed prior to flowering, mowing or cutting can reduce seed production. Re-sprouts will vigorously appear following mowing, so follow-up cutting will be necessary to prevent seed production during the growing season. Make sure to wash equipment thoroughly following mowing to prevent spread of seeds to new areas.

Biological control, using host-specific natural enemies of purple loosestrife, is a popular form of management for this species in Minnesota. Biological control agents feed specifically on purple loosestrife plants and have been shown to provide a long-term sustainable management solution.The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, in cooperation with the Minnesota Association of County Agricultural Inspectors, oversees a statewide biological control program for this noxious weed.Mowing is not recommended for purple loosestrife because it can further spread the species by distributing plant stems that will sprout vegetatively. If feasible, native plants should be restored to the control area by seeding or planting.This re-establishment of vegetation will deter new loosestrife seedling development. (Source:cipwg.uconn.edu)

 

 

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