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Northern Plains Regional Reports

Two Aggressive Invasives to Watch Out For: Purple Loosestrife and Orange Hawkweed

These deceptively pretty plants must be eradicated before they take over your garden

Both introduced from Europe, orange hawkweed (left) and purple loosestrife (right) displace native plants and are notoriously difficult to eradicate. Photos: Axel Khulmann via publicdomainpictures.net (left) and Wikimedia Images (right). 

While there are many different threats to the health and well-being of our natural landscapes and gardens, invasive species are one that we need to be especially mindful of. If you cannot identify them, some may be popping up in your area or even your own garden without you realizing the threat.

Purple loosestrife
Purple loosestrife likes to infest wet areas with long-lived seeds that can germinate for up to 20 years. Photo: Mabel Amber via pixabay.com

One invasive plant that should on your radar is purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria, Zones 4–9). Every summer at McCrory Gardens we get questions about what that tall beautiful purple flower is that visitors see popping up along creeks and ditches. And who can blame them for asking, since it was introduced here as an ornamental from Europe in the 1800s and sold for years? While it does indeed have a beautiful color, this invasive perennial…

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