Overview

Comprehensive Description

Comments

This native plant should not be confused with Lythrum salicaria (Purple Loosestrife). The latter is an aggressive Eurasian plant that invades wetlands and forms dense stands that exclude other species. It was introduced to the United States as an ornamental plant. As compared to the native plant Lythrum alatum (Winged Loosestrife), Purple Loosestrife has wingless stems, a larger size, and slender willow-like leaves that often have hairs. Return
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Description

This native perennial plant is up to 3' tall, branching occasionally from the lower half of the central stem. This central stem is strongly winged and hairless. The leaves are alternate in the upper half of the central stem and opposite from each other in the lower half; they are usually alternate in the smaller side stems. The leaves are up to 3½" long and 1½" across, becoming gradually smaller as they ascend the stems. They are hairless, ovate or lanceolate,smooth along their margins, and sessile. The inflorescence consists of a tall narrow spike up to 1½' long. One or two flowers develop from individual axils of small leafy bracts, which are crowded together along the spike. Each flower is about ½" across or slightly larger, and its corolla is pale lavender to purple. The corolla has six narrow lobes that spread outward from a tubular calyx; each lobe has a fine line of dark purple that leads to the throat of the flower. The calyx is light green to purplish green with 6 lanceolate teeth. Reproductive organs consist of 6 stamens and a pistil with a single style; the style may, or may not, be exerted. The blooming period occurs from mid- to late summer, and lasts about 1-2 months. There is no noticeable floral scent. The root system is rhizomatous. The tiny seeds can be carried a considerable distance by wind or water. Cultivation
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Distribution

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Winged Loosestrife is widely distributed in Illinois, but it occurs only occasionally in any specific locale (see Distribution Map). Habitats include moist black soil prairies, marshes, fens, borders of lakes and ponds, areas along rivers and drainage ditches, and low-lying ground along railroads. This plant has trouble competing against dense stands of the taller wetland grasses, particularly Phalaris arundinacea (Reed Canary Grass). Faunal Associations
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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Global Range: New England west to Wyoming and Colorado, south to Kansas and Oklahoma (Great Plains Flora Association 1986).

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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Winged Loosestrife is widely distributed in Illinois, but it occurs only occasionally in any specific locale (see Distribution Map). Habitats include moist black soil prairies, marshes, fens, borders of lakes and ponds, areas along rivers and drainage ditches, and low-lying ground along railroads. This plant has trouble competing against dense stands of the taller wetland grasses, particularly Phalaris arundinacea (Reed Canary Grass). Faunal Associations
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Associations

Flower-Visiting Insects of Winged Loosestrife in Illinois

Lythrum alatum (Winged Loosestrife)
(Bees collect pollen or seek nectar; Syrphid flies feed on pollen & are non-pollinating, otherwise they suck nectar; other insects suck nectar; one observation is from Grundel & Pavlovic as indicated below, otherwise the observations are from Robertson)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera sn fq; Apidae (Bombini): Bombus griseocallis sn, Bombus impatiens sn cp fq; Anthophoridae (Ceratinini): Ceratina dupla dupla sn; Anthophoridae (Epeolini): Epeolus bifasciatus sn, Triepeolus concavus sn, Triepeolus lunatus concolor sn; Anthophoridae (Eucerini): Florilegus condigna sn, Melissodes bimaculata bimaculata sn, Melissodes coloradensis sn, Melissodes communis sn, Melissodes comptoides sn cp fq, Melissodes tepaneca sn cp, Svastra atripes atripes sn, Svastra obliqua obliqua sn, Synhalonia speciosa sn; Megachilidae (Coelioxini): Coelioxys modesta sn, Coelioxys octodentata sn fq; Megachilidae (Megachilini): Megachile brevis brevis sn cp fq, Megachile campanulae campanulae sn, Megachile inimica sayi sn, Megachile mendica sn, Megachile petulans sn; Megachilidae (Osmiini): Hoplitis pilosifrons sn

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Agapostemon sericea sn fq, Agapostemon virescens sn, Augochlorella striata sn, Halictus confusus sn, Halictus ligatus sn cp, Lasioglossum versatus sn cp; Andrenidae (Panurginae): Calliopsis andreniformis sn cp

Wasps
Sphecidae (Sphecinae): Ammophila nigricans fq, Ammophila procera, Prionyx atrata

Flies
Syrphidae: Eristalis stipator sn, Helophilus latifrons fp np, Tropidia mamillata fp np; Bombyliidae: Exoprosopa fasciata sn fq, Exoprosopa fascipennis sn, Exoprosopa meigenii sn, Systoechus vulgaris sn; Tachinidae: Archytas analis sn

Butterflies
Nymphalidae: Chlosyne nycteis, Vanessa cardui; Lycaenidae: Lycaeides melissa samuelis (GP), Lycaena hyllus; Pieridae: Colias philodice, Eurema lisa, Pieris rapae, Pontia protodice fq

Skippers
Hesperiidae: Ancyloxypha numitor, Pholisora catullus, Polites peckius fq, Polites themistocles

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Lythrum alatum

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 7
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N3 - Vulnerable

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Wikipedia

Lythrum alatum

Lythrum alatum, commonly known as winged loosestrife, winged lythrum or (in Britain and Ireland) angled purple-loosestrife,[1] is a species of flowering plant belonging to the family Lythraceae. It is endemic to wetland areas in central and eastern United States and Ontario.[2]

Description[edit]

Winged loosestrife is an upright, branching herbaceous plant growing to about one metre tall. The stems are woody in the lower parts of the plant, square in cross section with slightly winged angles. The leaves are mostly opposite, stalk-less, broadly oblong and tapering towards the tip. They have smooth un-toothed edges. The flowers are borne singly or in pairs in the axils of the much reduced upper leaves. The calyx forms a tube about 0.6 millimetres long and has six pointed teeth. The six rose-pink petals have a magenta central vein and are about 5 millimetres long and 2 millimetres wide. There are six stamens with pink filaments and purple anthers. The stigma is white and the style green.[3] The ovary is superior and the fruit is an elongated capsule with numerous tiny seeds.[4]

Habitat[edit]

Winged loosestrife is found growing in wet meadows and fens, pond and lake margins, beside streams and by railroads.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "BSBI List 2007" (xls). Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Retrieved 2014-10-17. 
  2. ^ USDA Plants profile
  3. ^ a b Missouri plants
  4. ^ Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
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