News Release (July 16, 1998)

For more information contact:
Robert Waltz or Gayle Jansen, Division of Entomology and
Plant Pathology, 317/232-4120

Banned purple loosestrife showing up at nurseries

Purple loosestrife, banned for sale in Indiana because of its harmful effects on native wetland vegetation, has been showing up on the shelves this summer at a small number of nurseries and garden shops, according to Robert Waltz, the state’s entomologist.

It is illegal in Indiana to sell purple loosestrife, known by the scientific name Lythrum salicaria and any species or variety of Lythrum, including plants sold as Lythrum virgatum or horticultural varieties such as ‘Morden Gleam’ and ‘Morden Pink’.

“If you are a retailer who has received a shipment of purple loosestrife, contact your supplier and return the plants to that supplier. Do not give away plants to eliminate your inventory.

“If you have purple loosestrife near any body of water, please pull and destroy the plants immediately. Even purple loosestrife marketed as “sterile” can produce thousands of seeds that will destroy native vegetation,” Waltz said. Purple loosestrife has taken over millions of acres of wetlands since it was brought to North America from Europe some 100 years ago. The attractive but invasive weed spreads rapidly, crowding out native wetland vegetation. Purple loosestrife interrupts the wetland food chain, depriving animals of adequate food sources and reducing the ability of wetlands to support wildlife. Also, the loss of the fibrous roots of many native wetlands plants reduces the capability of wetlands to trap sediment and filter water.