Photo of the Week

Purple loosestrife
Purple Loosestrife
Lythrum salicaria, Lythraceae
Burnaby Lake Park, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
Nikon D5100, 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6
August 17, 2013

This striking purple flower is one of British Columbia’s and Canada’s most noxious weeds. Purple Loosestrife can produce nearly 3 million seeds on a single plant and these seeds are easily transported by wind, water or animals. Control of these plants is made even more difficult by their ability to regenerate from root fragments. The plants form dense stands that outcompete all other wetland vegetation, adversely affecting wetland associated species such as waterfowl and amphibians. I found this particular plant in a ditch near Burnaby Lake. Burnaby Lake was one of the release sites for the Black-margined Loosestrife Beetle (Galerucella calmariensis). The beetle has been quite successful in reducing populations of Purple Loosestrife at Colony Farm and other sites such as the aforementioned Burnaby Lake. From what I understand Burnaby Lake used to be positively purple as compared with the isolated populations you find today.

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