Lysimachia quadriflora (Prairie Loosestrife)

Plant Info
Also known as: Four-flower Yellow Loosestrife, Linear-leaf Loosestrife
Family:Myrsinaceae (Myrsine)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:sun; wetlands, moist open prairie
Bloom season:July - August
Plant height:1 to 3 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACW MW: OBL NCNE: OBL
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: whorled

[photo of flowers] 1-inch, nodding yellow flowers on slender stalks ¾ to 1 inch long, single or in whorls up to 4 in the upper leaf axils of stems and branches. The 5 petals are nearly round, but for a sharp, narrow point at the tip, the edges ruffled or ragged, sometimes faintly streaked reddish brown, with 5 lance shaped sepals at the back. The 5 stamens have rusty red, crescent shaped tips and surround a single, slender style in the center.

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

[photo of leaves] Leaves are stiffly erect to spreading, opposite or in whorls of mixed length blades in the axils and at ends of branches. Leaves are mostly linear, 1¼ to 3½ inches long and ¼ inch or less wide, tapered at the base and tip, smooth or with a few short, stiff hairs at the leaf node, the mid vein prominent and the edges curled under. Stem is smooth and erect, unbranched or with a few short branches in the upper leaf axils.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit] Fruit is a round, shiny capsule, less than ¼ inch in diameter, sitting erect on the slender stalk surrounded by the 5 sepals, and the long slender style persisting at the tip.


Lysimachia quadriflora is frequent in moist to wet meadows throughout the Red River Valley and south central Minnesota. While even familiar botanists can get the  scientific name mixed up with that of Whorled Loosestrife (L. quadrifolia), these two couldn't be more dissimilar in appearance. L. quadriflora (meaning 4 flowers) has large, umbrella like flowers and very narrow leaves and L. quadrifolia (meaning 4 leaves) has small, star-shaped flowers and whorls (often in 4s) of broad, spreading leaves. The broad nodding flowers are however, very similar to those of both Fringed Loosestrife (L. ciliata) and Lowland Yellow Loosestrife (L. hybrida), but again, the linear leaves of L quadriflora distinguish it from both of these species.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Long Lake Regional Park, Ramsey County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken at Iron Horse Prairie SNA, Dodge County, and in Mower County.


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

Posted by: Kenny h - East of rose creek on shooting star trail
on: 2017-07-11 23:46:46

I have seen this in previous years on the Shooting Star Trail...found it today close to the Tuberous Indian wouldn't focus for some reason...have to go back tomorrow...July 12...hopefully it won't be so windy...cloudy helps too.

Posted by: Barbara - Minneapolis
on: 2018-07-02 19:22:21

Hi, This lovely plant is a volunteer in my garden. I'm so happy to know it's not some non-native invasive.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2018-07-02 21:22:52

Barbara, it is more likely you have a different species volunteered in your Minneapolis yard.

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