Purple loosestrife

Lythrum salicaria
Purple loosestrife:Lythrum salicaria Purple loosestrife:Lythrum salicaria

Common name:

Purple loosestrife

Scientific name:

Lythrum salicaria (Lythraceae)


An erect, hairy perennial up to 2m high with stout stems. Stalkless leaves growing right from the upright stem and mostly opposite. Showy spikes of rose-purple flowers which appear in summer.

Additional Info

  • Where does this species come from?

    Europe and Asia.

    What is its invasive status in South Africa?

    Existing legislation: CARA 2002 – Category 1 NEMBA – Category 1a

    Where in South Africa is it a problem?

    Western Cape.

    How does it spread?

    Seed dispersal.

    Why is it a problem?

    It can form dense stands that compete with and replace indigenous species.

    What does it look like?

    General description: An erect, hairy perennial growing up to 2m high with stout stems. Leaves: Leaves are stalkless, half-clasping to the stem and opposite. Flowers: Showy spikes of rose-purple flowers in summer. Fruit/seeds: Capsules 5mm long.

    Does the plant have any uses?


    Plant me instead alternatives

    Waterholly (Senecio glastifolius)