Actual Feather Flower Pink And Purple Name Of Them Why Is Purple Loosestrife a Threat?

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Why Is Purple Loosestrife a Threat?

Lythrum salicaria or Purple Loosestrife is a hardy perennial characterized by its spiky pink-purple flowers. The plant was brought to the northeastern United States by early settlers in the 18th century for their flower gardens. Since then, it has spread aggressively across the United States and Canada.

The real problem

Wetlands are a biologically diverse component of an ecosystem in which hundreds of species of fish, amphibians, plants, mammals, birds, reptiles and insects depend on a healthy river for their survival. Purple loosestrife grows rapidly in wetlands, and native species that grow and reproduce there are quickly covered under masses of purple flowers. Thousands of hectares of fertile wetlands that provide wild rice and support fish populations are being degraded each year in North America, causing millions of dollars in economic losses.

It can also invade dry sites. The plant has encroached on agricultural as well as pasture land making it difficult for beneficial crops and animals to survive.

Why is there such a risk?

Purple loosestrife can produce numerous seeds that are easily dispersed by wind and water. Thick strips cover thousands of acres removing open aquatic habitat for species such as rare amphibians and butterflies. When it was brought from its native continent to New England, its natural predators were left behind. Predators prevented the purple loosestrife’s population explosion on the native continent. However, since there are no natural enemies like beetles in America; The purple loosestrife population has increased dramatically.

How can you control Purple Loosestrife?

Control is important to protect native wildlife. The spread of the plant can be prevented if proper control methods are implemented. The simple guidelines mentioned below can help control the spread of purple loosestrife:

• The most suitable time for management is the flowering season which is between late June, July and early August.

• Physical removal and registered herbicides can control small populations of purple loosestrife.

• Once an area becomes heavily infested, physical removal of the plant can be extremely difficult. In that case, control techniques can be used to control growth caused by seed dispersal.

• Check drains or streams running through the affected area, as new colonies can easily grow there. Cutting or digging up trees in areas with manageable infestations will control spread beyond the area.

• Biological control is another effective method to control invasive populations. This method involves reuniting the plant with its natural predators. There are several species of insects that can feed on and reduce infestations of purple loosestrife.

Are there any alternative plants that can be planted?

There is a lot of variety in the perennial garden that despite sharing similarities with purple loosestrife poses no threat to the natural environment. Some eco-friendly options like Blazing Star, Gay Feather, Delphinium, False Spirea, Foxglove, etc. are easily available at local nurseries.

Several agencies in North America have begun efforts to raise public awareness to control the spread of this plant. The federal wildlife service, environmental agencies and the conservation community have come together to stop the spread of this invasive plant.

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