Thursday’s Feature: Lythrum salicaria

This Thursday I am joining Kimberley at Cosmos and Cleome again in featuring a plant growing in my garden. Until choosing this plant for my feature today, I was unaware of its common name Purple Loosestrife, as I only knew the botanical name Lythrum salicaria and the German name ‘Blutweiderich’. I had heard of Purple Loosestrife, but never put two and two together!

Lythrum2

Lythrum loves damp ground, so this year it has done much better than usual. It is one of the few plants that I water if it is dry. It grows down near our river, where it gets taller than mine – this one is just 50cm tall but in the wild with the right conditions I have seen it about 80cm tall too.

It is a fantastic plant for pollinators of all kinds, especially bees and hoverflies…

Lythrum4

Lythrum appears late, with the first leaves visible only after the last tulips have flowered.  It is therefore useful for areas where spring bulbs leave a gap. And in autumn the foliage turns orangey red, prolonging the interest. But the flowers are what I grow it for in this area reserved predominantly for herbs. And it has had many herbal uses in the past; as a diuretic, for stopping bleeding, for stomach disorders and even for skin problems.

Lythrum3

The Nigella seedheads are a happy coincidence, reflecting the pinky red of the flowers and buds. The yellow in the background is St John’s Wort.

Lythrum1

Do you grow this flower, or have you seen it growing nearby?

Thanks to our host once more – do go and visit Kimberley to see what she is featuring this week.

🙂

24 thoughts on “Thursday’s Feature: Lythrum salicaria

  1. As Jason mentioned we’re not able to grow it here. Caught my eye in a plant book and I’ve liked it very much since, but will have to enjoy it through your eyes.

    • That’s a shame. We have more problems with other water-loving invaders such as Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens glandulifera). The authorities have done a good job of clearing much down near our river, but it’s a tough battle. It stops smaller native plants growing which are vital for our local wildlife. But it looks gorgeous in flower when seen from the water!

  2. We have that here but I would have been afraid of bringing it into the garden but yours looks beautiful and the bee is appreciative too. Great picture of the bee! As I have been looking out for plants that the bees like I have begun to notice that many of them are associated with herbal properties. Amelia

    • The wild versions of many flowers we grow seem to have far more pollen then the cultivated ones and I suppose they all originated from wild flowers anyway. Unless you have a boggy garden I should think it is quite safe to introduce some of this plant. As far as I know it is not invasive in Europe, in fact has to be protected in some regions.

    • I have never seen paler ones Kate. The ones in the wild do vary a little as well, and there are probably many varieties. Mine was a bargain plant with no name at my ‘garden centre’ (Bavaria is not renowned for its interest in gardening!)

    • I have since read several reports about its invasiveness in the US. Sadly it is not common in all parts of Germany and is valued highly when it does turn up in the wild!

  3. Oh your header is most attractive Cathy. Is it new or have I been unobservant? Your lythrum sounds most tempting. I like the colour as well as the fact that it’s a good pollinator. Is it scented?

    • It isn’t scented as far as my nose can tell Anna, but perhaps the insects smell it. It is in any case very popular with the bees. Oh, and the header is new – part of my vase from last week!

  4. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday: Garden Joy | Words and Herbs

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