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If you have seen a marshland of tall and skinny plants with lots of pink-purple families, then you have likely met one prominent member of the Loosestrife family. Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) introduced as an ornamental plant from Europe in the late 1800s. Its square stems and opposite leaves may mislead you to think that it is a member of the Mint family, until you examine the flowers. Purple loosestrife propagates quickly via spreading roots and prolific seed production. It has taken over swamps from coast to coast, altering the ecology and reducing habitat for native species. Any small or isolated patches should be reported to the landowner or public agency in charge of the land.
Key Words: Twice the number of stamens as petals, in two series-short and tall.
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