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Lanceleaf Loosestrife Lythrum alatum var. lanceolatum


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Lanceleaf Loosestrife
credit: Bob Peterson/CCSA

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Alternate name: Winged Lythrum, Wing-angle Loosestrife

Family: Lythraceae, Loosestrife view all from this family

Description This southern variant of Lythrum alatum has robust stems and tapering leaf bases.
Habit: native perennial subshrub or herb; stems square-ish, much branched, straight.
Height: 3-4 ft (0.9-1.2 m).
Leaf: opposite or 3-whorled, lanceolate to linear-lanceolate, to 0.5-2.5 in (2-6 cm) long and 0.3-0.4 in (7-10 cm) wide, becoming much smaller above.
Flower: 6-pointed star, purple to lavender to pale pink (rarely white), magenta-veined, 0.5 in (1 cm) wide, from ribbed red tube to 0.25 in (6 mm) long; with crinkled petals; solitary or paired in upper leaf axil, forming terminal spike.
Fruit: small cylindrical capsule.

Flower April to October.

Habitat Open, wet to moist, sandy or poorly drained places: wet prairies, wet meadows, swamps, marshes, flatwoods, lake edges, ditches, swales, railways, disturbed sites; also grown as ornamental and for landscape restoration.

Range Native to southeastern U.S., from Virginia south to Florida, west to Texas and Oklahoma, northeast to Kentucky.

Discussion Also called winged lythrum, winged loosestrife, southern winged loosestrife, wing-angle loosestrife. The taxonomy of this species is uncertain; some botanists consider it a subspecies, while others consider it a separate species, L. lanceolatum. Endangered in Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Maryland. This plant is an obligate or facilitative wetland indicator throughout its range. Considered weedy or invasive in some areas; its sale is restricted in Michigan, Wisconsin and North Carolina.