Range and Habitat in Illinois
Purple Loosestrife occurs occasionally in NE Illinois and scattered counties elsewhere (see Distribution Map). It was introduced into the United States from Europe as a horticultural plant because of the showy flowers. Habitats include fens, marshes, borders of ponds and rivers, and ditches. This is species is still grown in flower gardens, using hybrids that are supposedly sterile. However, research has revealed that many of these hybrids can form viable seeds when wild forms of Purple Loosestrife are present in a given locality as a result of cross-pollination between these two groups of plants. Purple Loosestrife often escapes from cultivation and invades wetlands, sometimes forming dense stands that exclude other plants. This plant has become a major problem in Wisconsin and some of the northeastern states.
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