Lysimachia vulgaris (Garden Loosestrife)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Family:Myrsinaceae (Myrsine)
Life cycle:perennial
Origin:Europe, Asia
Habitat:part shade, sun; wetlands, along shores, moist fields, woods and roadsides
Bloom season:July - August
Plant height:18 to 36 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: none MW: FACW NCNE: FACW
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Cluster type: panicle Cluster type: raceme

[photo of flowers] Branching clusters at the top of the plant and arising from leaf axils in the upper plant. The flowers are cup shaped, about ½ inch across, the 5 oval to broadly lance shaped petals bright to golden yellow, often orangish-red at the base. In the center are 5 short yellow stamens. The 5-lobed calyx is tinged red around the edges and fringed with hairs.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: opposite Leaf attachment: whorl Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are in whorls of 3 or 4, the lowest leaves opposite, 2 to 4 inches long and ½ to 1½ inches wide, toothless, lance to broadly elliptic, on a short stalk. The lower surface is densely softly-hairy. Stems are erect and softly-hairy, starting out mostly unbranched, becoming much branched later.


Introduced as a garden ornamental worldwide, it appears to prefer northern temperate regions where it can escape into surrounding native eco-systems. In the slow process of recognizing the ecological threat from the invasive potential of any naturalizing garden species, Garden Loosestrife is being added to invasive species lists in both the northwest and the northeast U.S. It can spread rampantly from vigorous rhizomes and in Washington State it has been observed out-competing the highly invasive Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria). Garden Loosestrife appears on no list in Minnesota - yet. Our own specimen was photographed in a roadside wetland SE of Grand Rapids back in 2004 may be the only observed rural population in Minnesota to date. While there's undoubtedly more out there, it has yet to hit a population threshold that puts it on the invasive species radar screen here. This is one to pay attention to.

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More photos

Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in southern Itasca County. Other photos courtesy King County Noxious Weed Control Program


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Naomi - Mentor, MN in Terrebonne Township
on: 2013-05-23 12:34:04

I have these growing in our ditch every spring. This ditch also receives water from Badger Creek (all waters flow north in my area of Minnesota.) They are simply stunning and so sunny yellow.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2013-05-23 15:02:24

Naomi, I would keep my eye on them and watch that they do not spread, though that may be easier said than done. Wind, water and critters can spread seed far and wide, and you have no control over that or what happens in those new locations. They are very invasive in other parts of the country.

Posted by: Nancy Braker - Rice County, Carleton Arboretum, within Northfield city limi
on: 2019-06-26 11:08:53

Found one plant growing in a recent prairie restoration. This was at a site of a former community garden where we also have day lilies, oregano, comfrey and daffodils! Could have been introduced in a garden setting. We will be removing it.

Posted by: Heather Lindstrom - Atwater
on: 2019-07-16 12:17:05

I'm so glad I came to this site, cuz I was going crazy trying to find out what these were lol. Found them growing with milkweed across from work, and while leaves/stalk look similar, knew it wasn't a milkweed variety

Posted by: Susan Gangl - St. Paul
on: 2021-06-23 15:32:07

It's in my neighbor's yard and spread to mine a bit. I pulled them up. Haven't asked him if he planted them or if they are volunteers.

Posted by: Arlene - Maplewood
on: 2023-06-21 18:14:24

There is a beautiful stand of these across from Hill Murray High School on Larpenteur in Maplewood MN. Might need some attention.

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