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Re: Lythrum salicaria

This was taken from a web site in Illinois:

Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora),
and purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) have been legally designated as
exotic weeds. There are several worthy candidates for additions to the list
such as kudzu and garlic mustard. I just spent time at my favorite woodland
viewing how garlic mustard can choke out my beloved wildflowers.

As the act reads: "It shall be unlawful for any person, corporation,
political subdivision, agency or Department of the State to buy, sell, offer
for sale, distribute or plant seeds, plants or plant parts of exotic weeds
without a permit issued by the Department of Conservation (now Department of
Natural Resoures)."

In other words, don't buy, sell or plant these plants and don't give them to
your friends or enemies. Since the law covers just Illinois, these plants
may be available for purchase in other states. You may have noticed the fine
print in catalogs "not for sale to residents of Illinois" next to a plant

Many of the exotic weeds started out or are used as garden plants. For
instance, purple loosestrife is a very pretty plant with a spike of pink
flowers all summer long. The problem is the loosestrife doesn't know when to
quit or how to be a good neighbor. It proceeds to conquer the garden and the
local natural areas and waterways by choking out all of the other plants
including orchids and other rare plants.

The following are Purple Loosestrife cultivars (cultivated varieties) which
are illegal to sell or plant: 'Happy,' 'Robert,' 'Firecandle,' 'Brightness,'
'The Beacon,' 'Lady Sackville,' 'Atropurpureum,' L. s. roseum superbum, and
L. s. tomentosum.

Some cultivars are listed as legal in Illinois. However a wealth of research
is showing these cultivars are not as harmless as once thought even though
they are derived from a different Lythrum (Lythrum virgatum). Supposedly the
seeds are sterile and will not reseed. Research has shown the pollen is
viable and will pollinate the weedy species.

To see what Illinois is doing to try to manage purple loosestrife, check out
the Purple loosestrife biological control program at the Illinois Natural
History Survey at www.inhs.uiuc.edu/cbd/loosestrife/bcpl.html.

Rather than worrying about which loosestrife is correct, why not try some
beautiful alternatives such as blazing star (Liatris), dragonshead,
Physostegia, Veronica 'Barcorolle,' Salvia 'Amethyst' or 'Rose Queen,' or
Culver's root (Veronicastrum). They are all perennial plants with beautiful
spike flowers like loosestrife minus the nasty weedy tendency.

Being a devoted plant collector, it is difficult for me to not grow
something I think is beautiful such as purple loosestrife. I've tried to
defend myself by saying I had the sterile cultivars and I didn't live near a
wetland. However when I realize the consequences, it becomes very easy to
compost my purple loosestrife plant. I believe we all must be responsible
gardeners. You think you have weed problems, just try weeding a 600-acre

Best Regards, Beth
----- Original Message -----
From: "Jean Carpenter" <backhoe@ipa.net>
To: <hosta-open@mallorn.com>
Sent: Wednesday, October 18, 2000 4:07 PM
Subject: Re: Lythrum salicaria

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