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Bone Lake Protection: Invasive Species:

Purple Loosetrife

Purple Loosestrife has not been found around Bone Lake, but has invaded many area wetlands and territory all across Canada and the United States. Purple Loosestrife is still often present in garden seed mixes.

You will notice its purple stalks blooming in wetlands from June through early August. When purple loosestrife gets a foothold, the habitat where fish and wildlife feed, seek shelter, reproduce and rear young, quickly becomes choked under a sea of purple flowers. Some wildlife will eventually leave to find better habitat but the native plants and insects that can't move are killed by this invasion. An estimated 40,000 acres of wetlands, marshes, pastures and wet meadows in Wisconsin are affected, with an economic impact of millions of dollars. More information

How to Identify:

Flowers: Individual flowers have five or six pink-purple petals surrounding small, yellow centers. Each flower spike is made up of many individual flowers. There may be from 1-50 spikes per plant.

Seed: Each mature plant can produce up to 2.7 million seeds each year. Seed capsules appear on the lower part of the stalk while flowers at the top are still blooming. This can be as early as July. Like tiny grains of sand, seeds are easily spread by water, wind, wildlife, and people. Germination can occur the following season, but seeds may lay dormant for several years before sprouting.

Leaves: Leaves are long and smooth edged. They are arranged opposite each other on the stalk in pairs at 90 degree angles. You may see them in groups of three.

Stalk: Stalks are 4-6 sided with larger stems up to 6 feet tall and partially woody.

Disguise (don't be fooled by look-alikes): These plants look like purple loosestrife but are harmless: fireweed, blue vervain, winged loosestrife, blazing star, and gayfeather. Look at a field guide to tell them apart.