In Connecticut, purple loosestrife is found in wet,
sunny areas in every county in the state. Typical wetland habitats
for this noxious weed include river and stream banks, wet meadows
and fields, flood plains, ponds, lakes, marshes, and disturbed
areas such as roadsides and construction sites. See Figure 1.
No. Purple loosestrife was originally from Europe and
was introduced into the U.S. and Canada in the early 1800s. It
is not a native, or naturally-occurring plant in Connecticut
or any part of the U.S. but is considered an introduced, or exotic,
When purple loosestrife made its way over to America
from Europe in the 1800s, all of the beneficial insects that kept
the loosestrife population under control in Europe were left behind.
As purple loosestrife began to invade wetland habitats in the
U.S., it aggressively took over areas where cattails, sedges,
rushes, and many other native plant species were growing. Purple
loosestrife has since eliminated many of these native plants,
which are so important to animals as a food source, for nesting
materials and to provide protection for birds, muskrats, turtles
and other species. Once purple loosestrife invades a wetland,
the area will eventually become a solid stand of loosestrife,
of no value to the wildlife that used to live there.
Young purple loosestrife plants can be pulled by hand, as long as the entire plant and the roots are removed completely. Mowing or hand-pulling older, larger plants or applying herbicides is more difficult, expensive, and may only be a temporary remedy to control purple loosestrife in wetland areas. Do not plant purple loosestrife in your garden. See Figure 2. Biological control is the only long-term solution to manage purple loosestrife infestations and reduce populations of this invasive weed. In 1996, Connecticut began introductions of beneficial insects into several wetland areas to begin controlling purple loosestrife and restore the quality of these wildlife habitats. The introduction of beneficial insects is part of a national purple loosestrife biological control program that began in the U.S. in 1992.
For more information contact Donna Ellis, State Survey Coordinator, University of Connecticut Department of Plant Science, Telephone (860)486-6448; FAX (860)486-0682; email address: email@example.com
Links: CERIS (Center for Environmental and Regulatory Information Systems
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