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  • Up-to-date information about California vascular plants is available from the Jepson eFlora.

LYTHRACEAE

LOOSESTRIFE FAMILY

Elizabeth McClintock

Annual, perennial herb, shrubs, trees
Stem angled or cylindric
Leaves simple, entire, generally opposite, sometimes alternate or whorled
Inflorescence: raceme, spike, or panicle, terminal, or axillary clusters with 1–several flowers
Flower bisexual, generally radial; hypanthium cylindric to bell-shaped, generally membranous, persistent in fruit; sepals 4–6, generally persistent, appendages 3–5 or 0, alternate sepals; petals, stamens inserted on inner hypanthium; petals 4–6 or 0, alternate sepals, deciduous; stamens generally = or 2 X petals, included or exserted; ovary superior, chambers 2–6, style generally slender, stigma head-like
Fruit: capsule, opening by valves from top, splitting sometimes irregular or 0
Seeds 3–many
Genera in family: ± 25 genera, 450 species: temp, tropical, generally in wet habitats. Some ornamental or cultivated for medicine, dyes
Reference: [Graham 1964 J Arnold Arbor 45:235–250]

LYTHRUM

Annual, perennial herb
Stem prostrate to erect, sometimes 4-angled
Leaves opposite, alternate, or whorled, linear to ovate, sessile or short-petioled
Inflorescence: raceme- or spike-like; flowers generally 1–2 per axil; bracts 2 per node
Flower radial to slightly bilateral, sometimes of 2–3 forms (heterostyly); hypanthium cylindric to bell-shaped; sepals 4–6, appendages < to > sepals; petals 4–6 or 0; stamens 4–6 or 12, included or exserted; styles < to > stamens
Fruit generally cylindric, generally dehiscent by 2 valves
Seeds many, < 1 mm
Species in genus: ± 35 species: temp
Etymology: (Greek: blood, from flower color)
Reference: [Stuckey 1980 Bartonia 47:3–20]

Introduced

L. salicaria L.

PURPLE LOOSESTRIFE

Perennial, heterostylous
Stem erect, 5–15 dm, branching or not, ± gray-puberulent
Leaves generally opposite or whorled (sometimes alternate above), 5–14 cm, generally lanceolate
Inflorescence ± spike-like, terminal; bracts ovate, acuminate; flowers ± sessile
Flowers of 3 style forms; hypanthium cylindric, 4–5 mm; sepals deltate, < 1 mm; appendages linear, 2–3 mm; petals 8–14 mm, red-purple; stamens generally 12, included or exserted; style included or exserted
Fruit 3–4 mm, ovoid
Ecology: Marshes, ponds, streambanks, ditches
Elevation: < 1000 m.
Bioregional distribution: s North Coast, Outer North Coast Ranges, n Sierra Nevada Foothills, Sacramento Valley, San Francisco Bay Area, nw Modoc Plateau
Distribution outside California: worldwide; native to Europe
cultivated for ornamental. Weedy.

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