Yellow loosestrife is an invasive plant that can be found in wetlands, yards and along roadsides. It has small yellow flowers atop short stems but produces seeds less commonly than other types of loosestrifes. The most well-known type of yellow loosestrife is the wild variety (Lysimachia punctata). This plant grows to about 3 feet tall with clusters of small yellow flowers on top; it thrives in moist soil conditions and shady environments, producing more seed than other types of loosestrifes.
Fringed loosestrife (Lysimachia ciliata) is a less-common type of yellow loosestrife. It produces clusters of small white flowers atop 3 foot tall stalks, with the flowers growing in the opposite direction in which they are produced; this flower shape is why it is called fringed loosestrife. This type of yellow loosestrife is also have shiny leaves that are larger than other loosestrifes, and they may grow in swamplands or wet ground. It is native to North America, and it can grow just about anywhere.
They contain an oil inside of them that makes this type of yellow loosestrife poisonous to certain animals such as deer and cattle, although some animals can eat fringed loosestrife without dying immediately. Humans cannot eat this type of yellow loosestrife either, however some American Indians mixed the leaves of fringed loosestrife with water and drank it to cure diarrhea. Fringed loosestrife was also used as an antiseptic for wounds, but if too much gets into your system it can have adverse effects on your body.
Prairie loosestrife is still another type of yellow loosestrife, but it grows to be about 4 feet tall with clusters of small white flowers atop stalks that lean in the direction of flower production. This plant thrives in marshy environments but enjoys moist soil conditions like other loosestrifes. Its light green leaves are “pinnately-compound,” which means that the leaves are arranged in groups of three to five. They also have small lobes along with the natural wavy edges.
Variegated loosestrife (Lysimachia thyrsiflora)
This is growing to be about 1 foot tall with clusters of small pink flowers atop thin stalks; this plant thrives in shady, moist environments. This loosestrife plants is found in North America, primarily in the coastal areas of Canada and United States.
There are not as common as some others because it requires a moist environment to thrive meaning it cannot survive drought conditions. This plant prefers high water retention and has few growing requirements due to its ability for survival in harsh environments. Variegated loosestrife flowers have small pink flowers with a yellow center that grows year round from spring to summer and occasionally in autumn.
Rough-leaved loosestrife (Lysimachia asperula)
Rough-leaved yellow loosestrife is an aquatic or semiaquatic aquatic perennial plant that grows in wetlands, marshes, and other wet areas of North America. It is found primarily in the northeastern United States from Maine to Minnesota westward to Wisconsin and Texas as well as Canada.
The yellow flowers bloom in May through July with a scalloped flower shape blooming mid-summer; it thrives in wet lowland prairies and in shallow marshes. The rough-leaved loosestrife is found throughout wetlands including ponds, lakes, rivers, ditches, moist sand banks and tidal flats.
This plant can get up to be 2 feet tall but is typically around 6 inches; it also grows laterally becoming a dense thicket with yellow flowers. This particular form of yellow loosestrife has a reddish stem, dull green leaves and alternate leaves on long petioles; it also has tiny floating leafy appendages surrounding the flower stalk.
Creeping loosestrife (Lysimachia nummularia)
This is found along the edges of ponds and streams as well as wet woodland areas; it grows to be about 1 foot tall with clusters of small white flowers atop thin stalks.
The flowers are approximately 1/8 inch in diameter and have an appearance similar to a miniature dandelion. Small, 2-lobed leaves that resemble the shape of pine needles grow from the base of each cluster of flowers. Each plant has many clusters of flowers growing in a small area with each stem containing only one flower cluster. This type of yellow loosestrife can also be identified by its small black seeds that resemble poppy seeds.
A common species of this type is found along the Northeastern Atlantic regions of the United States as well as Canada; however a rare variety native to North America can be found in northern Manitoba and southeastern Saskatchewan.
Lysimachia congestiflora is found in wetlands and along the edges of streams; it produces clusters of small white flowers atop thin stalks but is most notable for its glossy, green leaves.
The common loosestrife (Lythimachia vulgaris)
The common loosestrife (Lythimachia vulgaris) is a shrub-like plant that produces yellow flowers atop 1 foot stalks, but this type of loosestrife also prefers moist soil conditions.
The spiked loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
The spiked loosestrife, or salicaria as it is known in some regions, also produces flowers atop 1 foot stalks that are 2-3 inches wide. The only difference between the common and spiked versions of this type of yellow loosestrife is that the spiked loosestrife likes moist soil conditions and grows much larger than common yellow loosestrife.
Lowland Yellow Loosestrife.
Lowland yellow loosestrife (Lythimachia debilis, also known as Celandine Poppy) grows to be about 1.5 feet tall with clusters of small white flowers; this is the most common type of yellow loosestrife found in disturbed environments such as roadsides and floodplains.
The Yellow Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis) is a type of yellow loosestrife but it is not invasive like other loosestrifes; this plant grows to be about 1 foot tall with clusters of small, white flowers atop thin stalks.
Spotted Loosestrife (Lythimachia punctata)
Spotted loosestrife has small, white flowers and grows to be about 1 foot tall; it thrives in shaded environments that have moist soil conditions.
Swamp Loosestrife (Decodon verticillatus)
Swamp loosestrife (Decodon verticillatus) has clusters of small yellow flowers and grows to be about 2 feet tall; it is most common in wet environments such as bogs.
Flowering Rush (Butomus umbellatus)
Flowering also produces clusters of small white flowers but grows to be about 3 feet tall and thrives in damp soil areas.
Bog Loosestrife (Decodon Byronii)
Bog loosestrife has larger clusters of flowers than most other loosestrifes and grows to be about 1 foot tall; it is found in bogs, lakeshores and wet environments.
Tufted Loosestrife (Decodon verticillatus)
Tufted loosestrife (recognized by its heart-shaped leaves) also has small clusters of tiny flowers and grows to be about 2 feet tall; it thrives in wet, organic environments where it can tap into water sources.
This variety belongs to the Onagraceae family, also known as Evening Primrose. It was formerly known as Gaura biennis. It is a biennial variety that can grow up to a height of 2 to 6 feet. It needs full sun and mesic conditions to grow healthily. Where its soil requirements are concerned, it can grow well in loam, sand, or gravel sand. Its flower spikes are around 4 to 8 inches long and have flowers at the tip and fruits below that. The flowers start off white initially and then slowly turn pink. The flowers have petals that are diamond-shaped and are 0.5 inches long and wide.
Growing yellow loosestrife (Lysimachia)
Growing yellow loosestrife is one of the best ways to tackle several types of weeds in your garden. It can be found at most nurseries, and it will help you get rid of many weeds without any herbicides by simply overpowering them with its growth.
It has a number of cultivars, including ones with variegated leaves or flowers. The plants can reach about 3 feet tall at maturity, but they are extremely easy to grow and you don’t have to worry about them spreading out of control.
Lysimachia vulgaris is one of the more common types of yellow loosestrife, and its flowers are a cheery bright yellow, sometimes with a bit of red in the center. They can be quite fragrant and are beloved by many gardeners for their ability to fill in blank spots in the garden or as an accent plant.
They do spread via rhizomes, so don’t plant them near your vegetable patch or you might end up with some plants in your salad.
However, you can use them for groundcover in other parts of the garden where they won’t be a problem. They are also great to plant near patios and walkways and will grow best if they are kept moist but not wet.
How do you kill yellow loosestrife?
Different ways to kill yellow loosestrife include:
(1) Cultivation Care should be taken when handling this plant as the pyrrolizidine alkaloids are poisonous and care should be taken in areas where stock will graze on it. The seeds may remain dormant in the soil for years. Mowing regularly can reduce the spread of loose-strife but will not eliminate large populations.
(2) Herbicides–Use a Glyphosate herbicide such as Rodeo, Roundup a systemic grass killer that works from within or any other nonselective herbicide.
Is deer resistant to yellow loosestrife infestation?
No, deer are very susceptible to the plant.
Why is it called Yellow Loosetrife or Dutchman’s Breeches?
“Yellow loosestrife” is a general name, applied to about 400 species of the flowering plant family Lythraceae. It can be difficult for biologists to identify which type you are talking about without seing a picture or examining a specimen in person.
Most members of the Lythraceae produce flowers with three petals that bloom from early summer well into fall, and their yellow vernacular name derives from this fact where they often line moist roadsides as well as wet meadows or wetlands during the months when few other sources of color exist. In some areas such flowers bloom until early December., but in other regions, they persist much less prominently through winter and reappear again in late spring† just ahead of many other flora.
Although you may not be able to identify the exact species, this is definitely a plant of wet areas and does well near streams as well as in marshy regions where it’s roots thrive in waterlogged soil.
When you see yellow loosestrife growing, most likely the groundwater table is high enough that it can get all the water it needs without having to tap into your well or septic tank. The plant is considered a “perennial” and generally lives for about three years, but there are varieties that may live as long as four or five years before dying off.
What is the Life Cycle of Yellow Loosestrife or Dutchman’s Breeches?
As spring warms and the soil begins to thaw, yellow loosestrife will begin its first year of growth. It continues to grow through summer into fall, producing a single spike of tiny greenish-white flowers with five petals each.
When pollinated, these flowers turn a pale shade of purple or pink before becoming dark brown and then drying up.
During its second growing season, the plant will re-emerge as shoots from the same rhizomes that sustained it through winter. This time, however, the shoots grow long enough to produce a flower stalk with leaves once more. It will continue to repeat this cycle year after year until either animal or human activity.
Yellow loosestrife flowers are quite pretty, but the rest of the plant is a serious problem to us and our environment. If we want to keep our local places free from these plants, it’s best to get rid of them as soon as you can.