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Purple Peril

Purple loosestrife, a pretty but aggressive invader, arrived in eastern North America in the early 1800s. This wetland plant was brought from Europe and Asia by settlers for their flower gardens, and seeds traveled in the holds of European ships that used soil for ballast.

First spreading along roads, canals, and drainage ditches, then later distributed as an ornamental, this exotic plant now thrives across much of Canada and the United States. It can form dense stands that are unsuitable as cover, food, or nesting sites for many native wetland animals. European insects that only attack purple loosestrife are being used as long-term biological control agents. Chemicals and uprooting are other control techniques.

Purple Loosestrife

Purple Loosestrife

Purple Loosestrife: What You Should Know, What You Can Do is a brochure published by the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters. It describes the problems loosestrife causes, discusses identification and control measures, and lists other garden plants that are good substitutes for purple loosestrife. First published in 1997, Purple Loosestrife: What You Should Know, What You Can Do was recently revised, and copies are available through Minnesota Sea Grant. Single copies are free. Bulk quantities (100 or more) cost 15 cents each. To order, look on the publications page and our free order form, under the exotics category, item X 50.


By Sea Grant Staff
February 2000

Return to February 2000 Seiche



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