Introduction

In a combined effort with Environment Canterbury and Christchurch City Council, DOC is asking local landowners for sightings of Lythrum salicaria, commonly known as purple loosestrife.

Date:  06 January 2012

Purple loosestrife.
Purple loosestrife

This summer sparks a call for help to identify purple loosestrife. 

In a combined effort with Environment Canterbury and Christchurch City Council, DOC is asking local landowners for sightings of Lythrum salicaria, commonly known as purple loosestrife.

Once popular for planting alongside residential ponds and streams, purple loosestrife has jumped the garden fence to invade precious wetland habitats, river margins and has even been found marching into farmland. With a growth of up to two metres, it has potential to override natives and pasture alike.

Biodiversity ranger Craig Alexander has seen this first hand.

“Purple loosestrife can be a real issue for farmers, invading pasture and waterways and clogging drains.

"Once established, you’re looking at several years of active control to deal with the problem.  Sadly it’s not just a matter of digging it out.”

“Purple loosestrife is easy to identify—just look out for the bright purple-magenta flower heads that are on show from December to February.

"By winter, all the foliage dies off to re-emerge in the summer so it is important to nip it in the bud while it is visible.”

If you suspect you have seen purple loosestrife on public or private land, contact Craig Alexander on + 64 3 341 9110 or email calexander@doc.govt.nz.

Contact

Lizzy Sutcliffe +64 27 470 1378 

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