Lythrum salicaria L.

2123 (4). L. salicaria L., Sp. Pl. ed. 1 (1753) 446; Hayek, Prodr. Fl. Penins. Balc. I (1926) 938; Webb, Fl. Eur. II (1968) 301; Exs.: Pl. Bulg. Exsicc. No 942 — Обикновена блатия

Fam:   Lythraceae J. St. Hill.
Genus:   Lythrum L.
Species: Lythrum salicaria L.
English Name: Purple loosestrife


Perennial plant. The roots are hardened, often spindle-shaped thickened. Stem 30 - 150 (200) cm high, erect at the base, hardened, four-walled, covered with short, most often curly, grayish-white hairs, thicker towards the top of the stem (rarely almost naked), simple or branched at the top part. Leaves sat down, rounded at the base and heart-shaped, pointed at the apex, rarely obtuse, usually curly fibrous, with one central and 2 - 3 pairs of arcuate curved anastomotic lateral veins; lower leaves ovate, 1.5 - 2.0 cm long and 0.9-1.3 cm wide, often almost glabrous, 3 in vertebrae, rarely opposite; medium opposite, lance or oblong-elliptic, 3 - 10 (12) cm long and 1.5 - 3.0 cm wide, obtuse or pointed; upper opposite or successive, narrowly lance, 1.5 - 3.5 cm long and 0.6 - 1.3 cm wide, pointed. Flowers trimorphic, collected in 2 - 4 (7) in dichases in the axils of the upper oblong-medullary or ovate-heart-shaped, often anthocyanin-colored and usually densely fibrous leaves, 0.5 - 1.0 (1.5) cm long , 0.3 - 0.5 cm wide; dichases in wheatear-shaped or wheatear-shaped bosom-like inflorescences; flower petioles 1.0 - 1.5 mm long; bracts linear styliform, 4 - 6 mm long and 0.2 - 0.3 (0.4) mm wide, reddish, membranous, fibrous, especially below and along the edge, often falling early. Hypanthus tubular or tubular bell-shaped 4.5 - 6.0 (7.0) mm long and about 0.2 mm wide, with 12 veins, fibrous. Sepals 6, broadly triangular, membranous, usually reddish-pink, pointed, about 1 mm long, 0.8 mm wide, ciliate at the edge and especially at the apex; appendages 6, linear-lance, 2 - 3 (4) mm long, 2 - 4 times longer than the sepals, fibrous. Petals 6, purple-red, violet, pinkish-white or white, oblong-ovate, usually rounded at the apex, 8 - 12 (14) mm long and 2.0 - 3.5 (5.0) mm wide; stamens 12, caught at the base of the hypanthium, 6 against the sepals of longer petioles, alternating with the other 6, located opposite the appendages. Ovary glabrous, oblong-ovate, 2 - 3 mm long; the style different long (1.0 - 1.5 mm, 4 - 5 mm and 8 - 10 mm in individual flowers), on top with a spherical stigma, longer than the short, but shorter than the long stamens. The box is oblong-ovate, glabrous, two-nested, cracking at the top in two parts, 3 - 4 (5) mm long and 1.5 - 2.0 mm wide. Seeds angularly wedge-shaped or wedge-shaped ovoid, 0.8 - 1.0 mm long and 0.2 - 0.3 mm wide.


var. salicaria; L. salicaria var. genuine Gr. et Gord., Fl. Fr. I (1848) 954. Stem and leaves sparsely fibrous to almost bare. Bracts at least below and along the edge fibrous. Distributed within the species.
var. tomentosum (Mill.) DC., Prodr. III (1828) 83; Hayek, 1st c .; L. tlomentosum Mill., Gard. Diet. ed. 8 (1768) 2; L. cinereum Griseb., Spic. Fl. Rum. Bithyn. I (1843) 110; L. salicaria var. cinerescens Vis., Fl. Dalm. III (1850-52) 197. The stem at the base is diluted fibrous; leaves on both sides with thick whitish, curly and short, straight, relatively rough hairs. Inflorescence dense white fibrous. Distributed within the species.
var. intermedium (Ledeb.) Koehne in Engl Bot. Jahrb. 1 (1881) 327; L. intermedium Ledeb. in Turcz., Bull. Soc. Mosc. (1838) 92; L. salicaria var. glabratum Ledeb., Fl. Ross. IV (1846) 127. Bare plant; bracts, sometimes the leaves on the edge short ciliate; calyx glabrous, rarely on the veins, and the stem at the edges short fibrous

Economic significance. Honey and medicinal plant. Contains tannins, pectin, traces of alkaloids, glycoside salicarin and others.

From:   „Флора на Н Р България”, том VII, Изд. на Б А Н, София, (1979)

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Lythrum salicaria or purple loosestrife[1] is a flowering plant belonging to the family Lythraceae. It should not be confused with other plants sharing the name loosestrife that are members of the family Primulaceae. Other names include spiked loosestrife and purple Lythrum.


Lythrum salicaria is a herbaceous perennial plant, that can grow 1–2 m tall, forming clonal colonies 1.5 m or more in width with numerous erect stems growing from a single woody root mass. The stems are reddish-purple or red to purple and square in cross-section. The leaves are lanceolate, 3–10 cm long and 5–15 mm broad, downy and sessile, and arranged opposite or in whorls of three.
The flowers are reddish purple, 10–20 mm diameter, with six petals (occasionally five) and 12 stamens, and are clustered tightly in the axils of bracts or leaves; there are three different flower types, with the stamens and style of different lengths, short, medium or long; each flower type can only be pollinated by one of the other types, not the same type, thus ensuring cross-pollination between different plants.[1][2][3] The flowers are visited by many types of insects, and can be characterized by a generalized pollination syndrome.[4]
The fruit is a small 3–4 mm capsule[5] containing numerous minute seeds. Flowering lasts throughout the summer. When the seeds are mature, the leaves often turn bright red through dehydration in early autumn; the red colour may last for almost two weeks. The dead stalks from previous growing seasons are brown.[1][2][3]
L. salicaria is very variable in leaf shape and degree of hairiness, and a number of subspecies and varieties have been described, but it is now generally regarded as monotypic with none of these variants being considered of botanical significance. The species Lythrum intermedium Ledeb. ex Colla is also now considered synonymous.[1][3][6]


Found in ditches, wet meadows and marshes and along sides of lakes.[9

Associated insects

The flowers are pollinated by long-tongued insects, including bees and butterflies.[3]
A number of insects use Lythrum salicaria as a food resource.
The black-margined loosestrife beetle Galerucella calmariensis is a brown beetle with a black line on its thorax. The adult feeds on the leaves of the plant, producing characteristic round holes. Its larvae destroy tender leaf buds and strip the tissue from the leaves. The golden loosestrife beetle Galerucella pusilla is nearly identical to G. calmariensis, but usually lacks the black thoracic line. Its feeding habits are also quite similar to the other leaf beetle.
The loosestrife root weevil Hylobius transversovittatus is a large red nocturnal weevil, which spends its nights feeding on leaves and leaf buds. The larvae emerge from their eggs and immediately burrow into the root of the plant, which they feed on continuously for over a year. This root damage stunts the plant's growth and ability to create seeds. If several larvae inhabit the same root, the plant can be killed.
The loosestrife flower weevil Nanophyes marmoratus is a tiny weevil which lays a single egg in each flower. When the larvae emerge they eat the flowers' ovaries, and the plant is unable to create seeds. The larvae usually proceed to hollow out the flower buds and use them as safe places to pupate.
Caterpillars of the engrailed moth (Ectropis crepuscularia), a polyphagous geometer moth, also feed on purple loosestrife.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Flowering Time: Blooms: VI - VIII, fruitful: VII - X.

Distribution in Bulgaria: Growing on wet meadows, on trucks on the rice paddies, around swampy areas, near rivers, streams, etc. Widespread, from sea level to 1700 m above sea level. (Conspectus of the Bulgarian Vascular Flora) = conspectus&gs_l= Zlc.

Distribution: Europe (north to 67 ° N), Asia (south to 30 ° N), North Africa (Algeria, North America).

Conservation status and threats: not protected species in Bulgaria by the Biodiversity Law. - Biological Diversity Act -

Medical plant: yes, it is - Medicinal Plants Act -

References: „Флора на Н Р България”, том VII, Изд. на Б А Н, София, (1979), Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.


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