A small family of herbs or shrubs, usually with opposite, entire-edged leaves and perfect flowers.
A. Purple Loosestrife.
Undoubtedly this species, which came to us from Europe, is the most beautiful of the genus. It is quite commonly known by the names of "Long Purples" and "Spiked Willow-herb." It is a very ornamental plant and forms a very attractive contrast to the surrounding vegetation when seen growing in profusion, as it so often does, along the banks of rivers and ponds. The rootstalk is perennial so that, once established, this species will spring up year after year in the same place.
The plant grows from 2 to 4 feet high and branches towards the top; during the flowering season, from June to August, we may see from one to, often, as many as half a dozen of these beautiful, long spikes flowering simultaneously on the same plant. The green leaves are stemless, lance-shaped and grow oppositely, or in circles of three, on the slightly hairy stem. The many purple flowers, making up the spike, each have six long petals and are trimorphous, that is flowers on the same plant have, relatively, three different lengths of stamens and pistils. They are cross-fertilized by bees and various species of butterflies. Purple Loosestrife is found locally in swamps and on marshy borders of streams from Me. to Del. and westwards.
Loosestrife (Lythrum Alatum) is a tall slender, native species growing 1 to 3 feet high, angular and branching. The deep green, lance-shaped leaves are set oppositely on the lower stem and alternately on the upper branches. The flowers appear sparingly from the axils of the leaves near the ends of the branches. This species grows in moist ground from N. S. to Minn, and southwards to the Gulf.