Lysimachia vulgaris L.

Common Name: Garden loosestrife

Synonyms and Other Names:

Yellow loosestrife; Garden loosestrife; Garden yellow loosestrife

Gil Wojciech, Polish Forest Research Institute, Bugwood.orgCopyright Info

Identification: A herbaceous perennial, 60--120 cm tall, with creeping rhizomes. Stems are erect, terete or obtusely quadrangular, simple or paniculately branched, pubescent. Leaves opposite or whorled; petiole 2--10 mm; leaf blade oblong-lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate, 6--17 X 1--5 cm, abaxially glabrescent, sparsely red or black glandular punctate, abaxially pubescent, base obtuse to subrounded, margin entire or obscurely repand, apex acuminate; veins to more than 10 pairs; veinlets prominent. Panicles terminal and axillary; peduncle 1.5--4.5 cm; bracts linear-subulate, 2--8 mm. Pedicel 3--12 mm. Calyx lobes lanceolate, 3.5--6 X 1--1.5 mm, margin black glandular striate and glandular ciliate. Corolla bright yellow, 8--11 mm, 1.5--2 cm in diam., deeply parted; lobes elliptic, 7--10 X 3.5--6 mm, adaxially densely glandular. Filaments connate basally into a ca. 1.5 mm high ring, free parts ca. 2.5 mm; anthers linear, dorsifixed, opening by lateral slits, ca. 3 mm. Ovary ovoid, style 4--5 mm. Capsule subglobose, 3--4 mm in diam. 2n = 28, 42, 56, 70, 84 (85, 86).

Size: to 120 cm

Native Range: Eurasia.

Map Key
This map only depicts Great Lakes introductions.

Great Lakes Nonindigenous Occurrences: In North America, it is naturalized in parts of most states from Minnesota east to Maryland, Quebec, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. The species appears to be increasing in the Ohio River Valley (Cusick 1986).

The first Great Lakes sighting occurred in 1913 in Lake Ontario.

Table 1. Great Lakes region nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state/province, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Lysimachia vulgaris are found here.

State/ProvinceFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
IN197419741Little Calumet-Galien
MI191220197Detroit; Fishdam-Sturgeon; Huron; Lower Grand; Northwestern Lake Michigan; Ontonagon; St. Clair-Detroit
MN200820081St. Louis
NY191320085Black; Eastern Lake Erie; Lake Ontario; Oneida; Seneca
OH200820081Southern Lake Erie
WI200820082Oconto; Southwestern Lake Michigan

Table last updated 10/5/2022

† Populations may not be currently present.

Ecology: L. vulgaris needs moist soils to grow; occurs in moist habitats, such as fens, wet woods, lake shores, and river banks (Campbell et al. 2010, King County 2010, MISIN and MNFI 2013).

This herbaceous perennial flowers from June to September (MISIN and MNFI 2013, State of Washington 2013).

Yellow loosestrife mainly reproduces via spreading reddish rhizomes which can grow up to 15 feet in the water (Campbell et al. 2010, King County 2010, MISIN and MNFI 2013). This specie also produces egg-shaped seed pods contain a few seed; individual seeds may be water-dispersed (Campbell et al. 2010, King County 2010).

Means of Introduction: Deliberate release.

Status: Established.

Great Lakes Impacts: Lysimachia vulgaris has a moderate environmental impact in the Great Lakes.
Yellow loosestrife has displaced native vegetation in wetlands and along streambanks and reduced habitat for waterfowl and fish (King County 2010). Yellow loosestrife has also been observed outcompeting purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria); a very problematic weed that is also found in the Great Lakes (State of Washington 2013).

Bossuyt et al. (2005) observed that plant populations dominated by Lysimachia vulgaris had decreased total species richness compared to populations nominated by other invasive plant species. It was also observed that when there was a majority of L. vulgaris present, palatable plant species produced significantly more inflorescences (Bossuyt et al. 2005).

This species can also create dense communities which alter the local hydrology by clogging shallow waterways and increasing sedimentation (King County 2010).

It may occupy the same niche as Lysimachia radicans, which is endangered in Indiana (Indiana Natural Heritage Database 2011).

Lysimachia vulgaris is an unpatalable species that is avoided by large herbivores due to toxic compounds (Bossuyt et al. 2005).

Lysimachia spp. are susceptible to rust and leaf spots (Missouri Botanical Garden 2012).

There is little or no evidence to support that Lysimachia vulgaris has significant socio-economic impacts in the Great Lakes.

There is little or no evidence to support that Lysimachia vulgaris has significant beneficial effects in the Great Lakes.
Lysimachia vulgaris has been used as a garden ornamental or for other landscaping purposes outside the Great Lakes(King County 2010).

Extracts taken from L. vuglaris contain many flavonoids; which have anti-oxidation properties (Rzadkowska-Bodalska and Olechnowicz-Stepien 1975). These flavanol glycosides are used in Chinese folk medicine to treat high blood pressure (State of Washington 2013).

Management: Regulations (pertaining to the Great Lakes)

The New York Invasive Species Council determined that this species poses a high ecological threat and recommends that it be prohibited within the state (New York Invasive 2010).

The Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission considers this species capable of causing severe ecological impacts and recommends it be controlled within their ceded territories (Falck and Garske 2003).

Note: Check federal, state/provincial, and local regulations for the most up-to-date information.

There are no known biological control agents for this species (King County 2010).

Hand-pulling is effective for small infestations and/or for young plants (King County 2010, MISIN and MNFI 2013). Care should be taken to dig out and remove all plant fragments, especially the rhizomes, to prevent regrowth (King County 2010). All seed heads and rhizomes pieces should be disposed of in plastic bags and removed from the site (King County 2010).

Repeated mowing of L. vulgaris may contain the existing population, but it will not eradicate it (King County 2010).

To control larger infestations, treatment with herbicides containing glyphosate, imazapyr, or triclopyr may be necessary (King County 2010). It is important to note that glyphosate and imazapyr are non-selective and will harm any plant it comes in contact with (King County 2010).Tricolpyr will not harm grasses, sedges, or cattails, and may be more appropriate to use in diverse plant communities (King County 2010).

Physical control methods should not be used on populations treated with herbicides until several weeks after application (King County 2010).

Note: Check state/provincial and local regulations for the most up-to-date information regarding permits for control methods. Follow all label instructions.

Remarks: It can be confused with the less aggressive L. punctata (spotted loosestrife), which bears single or small clusters of larger, more star-shaped flowers in leaf axils only, never in a terminal cluster like L. vulgaris.

References: (click for full references)

Bossuyt, B., B. de Fré, and M. Hoffman. 2005. Abundance and flowering success patterns in a short-term grazed grassland: early evidence of facilitation. Journal of Ecology 93(6): 1104—1114.

Campbell, S., P. Higman, B. Slaughter, and E. Schools. 2010. A Field Guide to Invasive Plants of Aquatic and Wetland Habitats for Michigan. Michigan DNRE, Michigan State University Extension, Michigan Natural Features Inventory. 90 pp.

Castanea. 51: 56-65.   Hinds, H.R. 2000. Flora of New Brunswick (2nd Ed.). University New Brunswick. 694 pp.

Cusick, A.W. 1986. Distributional and taxonomic notes on the vascular flora of West Virginia.

Falck, M. and S. Garske. 2003. Invasive Non-native Plant Management During 2002. Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC), Odanah, WI. 68 pp.

Indiana Natural Heritage Database.  2011. Illinios Threatened and Endangered Species by County.
126 pp.

King County Noxious Weed Program.  2010. Garden Loosestrife, Lysimachia vulgaris. Best Management Practices. 8 pp.

Midwest Invasive Species Information Network and Michigan Natural Features Inventory (MISIN and MNFI). 2013. Garden yellow loosestrife (Lysimachia vulgaris). Available Accessed 3 May 2013.

Missouri Botantical Garden. 2012. Lysimachia nummularia 'Aurea'. Available Accessed 2 May 2013.

New York Invasive Species Council. 2010. Final report: a regulatory system for non-native species. Department of Environmental Conservation, Albany, NY. 131 pp.

Rzadkowska-Bodalska, H. and W. Olechnowicz-Stepien. 1975. Flavonoids in the herb of yellow loosestrife (Lysimachia vulgaris L.). Polish Journal of Pharmacology and Pharmacy 27(3): 345—348.

State of Washington; Department of Ecology. 2013. Non-native Invasive Freshwater Plants: Garden Loosestrife (Lysimachia vulgaris). Available Accessed 3 May 2013.

Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board. 2008. Written Findings. (accessed on 08/18/2008)  
Zinck, M. & Roland, A.E. 1998. Roland's Flora of Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia Museum. 3rd ed., rev. M. Zinck; 2 Vol., 1297 pp.

Other Resources:

Connecticut Botanical Society. 2006. Available at:

Flora of China. 2008. Lysimachia vulgaris. Available at:


Author: Cao, L, and L. Berent

Contributing Agencies:

Revision Date: 8/16/2019

Citation for this information:
Cao, L, and L. Berent, 2022, Lysimachia vulgaris L.: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, and NOAA Great Lakes Aquatic Nonindigenous Species Information System, Ann Arbor, MI,, Revision Date: 8/16/2019, Access Date: 10/6/2022

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.