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Species Page

purple loosestrife

Lythrum salicaria
This information is part of a full datasheet available in the Crop Protection Compendium (CPC). Find out more information on how to access the CPC.
©CAB International. Published under a CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 licence.


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Prevention and control


Cultural control

Use of flooding and competition from other plant species has been attempted with very limited success. However, flooding to a depth of up to 50 cm for two years had little effect on the stature and reproductive characteristics of L. salicaria and appeared not be a successful method of control (Malecki and Rawinski, 1985). High water level may additionally present stresses for native plant communities. Also, plant competition was only partly successful and results differed greatly depending on the plant species used. Echinochloa frumentacea (Japanese millet) and Polygonum lapathifolium (nodding smartweed) grew well and out-competed L. salicaria (Rawinski, 1982) although Echinochloa walteri (Walter's millet) and Phalaris arundinacea (reed canarygrass) were unsuccessful (Malecki and Rawinski, 1985; Balogh, 1993). Typha x glauca is another potential species on permanently flooded sites (water level always greater than 40 cm) possibly combined with damage by carp (Rawinski and Malecki, 1984). Growth form, habitat type and phenology of L. salicaria indicate that it will not be susceptible to control with fire (Thompson et al., 1987).

Mechanical control

Mechanical control, such as mowing, ploughing or hand-pulling give only limited success (Malecki and Rawinski, 1985). Small populations may be successfully controlled by hand pulling, but this method should be avoided after flowering so as not to scatter seeds and plants should be bagged at the site to avoid fragments being dropped along the exit route. Burning is the preferred method for disposal of cut or pulled plants. The date of cutting has an important role in reducing the number of shoots but does not result in permanent control.

Chemical Control

Due to the variable regulations around (de-)registration of pesticides, we are for the moment not including any specific chemical control recommendations. For further information, we recommend you visit the following resources:


Where L. salicaria is common, direct economic losses are caused by reduced livestock stocking rates and reduction of water flow in irrigation systems. Livestock forage value was reduced in meadows where L. salicaria had established monospecific stands and the palatability of cut hay containing L. salicaria is reduced. L. salicaria is a threat to wetland pastures that typically occur along floodplains and on the peripheries of glacial marshes in central USA and is threatening the production of wild rice (Zizania aquatica) in such areas (Thompson et al., 1987).