Purple Loosestrife
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Purple Loosestrife
ative Photo: Prashant Awale
Common name: Purple Loosestrife, spiked loosestrife
Botanical name: Lythrum salicaria    Family: Lythraceae (Crape Myrtle family)
Synonyms: Lythrum argyi, Lythrum anceps

Purple Loosestrife is a herbaceous perennial plant, that can grow up to 1-1.5 m tall, forming colonies 1.5 m or more in width with numerous erect stems growing from a single woody root mass. The stems are reddish-purple or red to purple and square in cross-section. The leaves are lanceshaped, 3-10 cm long and 0.5-1.5 cm broad, downy and stalkless, and arranged opposite or in whorls of three. Flowers are reddish purple, 1-2 cm in diameter, with six petals (occasionally five) and 12 stamens, and are clustered tightly in the axils of bracts or leaves. There are three different flower types, with the stamens and style of different lengths, short, medium or long. Each flower type can only be pollinated by one of the other types, not the same type, thus ensuring cross-pollination between different plants. The fruit is a small 3–4 mm capsule containing numerous minute seeds.

Identification credit: Prashant Awale
Photographed at Dal Lake Srinagar.
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