winged loosestrife

(Lythrum alatum var. alatum)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

winged loosestrife

NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Wetland
Indicator
Status

Great Plains

OBL - Obligate wetland

Midwest

OBL - Obligate wetland

Northcentral & Northeast

OBL - Obligate wetland

Nativity

Native

Occurrence

 

Habitat

Wet to moist. Prairies, meadows, shores, shallows. Full sun to partial shade.

Flowering

July to September

     
Flower Color

Pinkish-purple with a purple midvein

     
Height

1 to 4

     
 
Identification

This is a 1 to 4 tall, erect, perennial forb rising from a taproot with rhizomes.

The stems are 4-angled and hairless with wand-like, straight, slender, and erect branches. The stem angles are slightly winged, which gives this plant its common name.

The leaves are thick, rigid, hairless, and untoothed. They are attached to the stem without leaf stalks, and are longer than the length of stem between the leaf’s base and that of the next leaf on the stem (internode). The lower leaves, those below the branches, are up to 4 long and 2 wide, becoming smaller as they ascend the stem. They are lance-shaped to egg-shaped, broadest below the middle or near the base, and taper to the tip. The lowest of them are opposite, the rest alternate. The upper leaves, those on the branches, are alternate, crowded, much smaller and proportionately narrower.

The inflorescence is composed of usually solitary but sometimes paired flowers rising from most of the the upper leaf axils.

The flowers are ¼ to ½ wide. The 6 petals are pinkish-purple with a purple midvein. There are usually 6, always less than 10, stamens per flower.

The sepals are fused for most of their length with each other and the petals into a to ¼ long, slender, hairless tube (hypanthium) with 12 narrow but sharp wings. The sepal lobes alternate with very narrow appendages that are twice as long as the sepal lobes.

The fruit is a capsule.

 
Similar
Species

Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), an introduced, invasive plant, has stems that are usually hairy, especially near the top. The inflorescence is a dense, 6 to 14 long, spike-like cluster of numerous flowers at the end of the stem. The flowers are larger, ½ to 1 across. There are always at least 10, usually 12, stamens.

 
Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28.
 
Comments

 

 
Taxonomy

Family:

Lythraceae (loosestrife)

 
Synonyms

Lythrum dacotanum

 
Common
Names

winged loosestrife

winged lythrum

wing-angled loosestrife

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Axil

The upper angle where the leaf stalk meets the stem.

 

Hypanthium

A cuplike tubular structure of a flower formed from the fused bases of sepals, petals, and stamens, that surrounds the pistil. Its presence is diagnostic of many families, including Rose, Gooseberry, and Pea.

 

Internode

The portion of a stem between nodes.

 

Node

The small swelling of the stem from which one or more leaves, branches, or buds originate.

 

Rhizome

A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.

       
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Plant

  winged loosestrife   winged loosestrife
       
  winged loosestrife    
       

Inflorescence

  winged loosestrife   winged loosestrife
       

Flower

  winged loosestrife   winged loosestrife
       
  winged loosestrife   winged loosestrife
       
  winged loosestrife    
       

Leaves

  winged loosestrife    
       
       

 

Camera

     
Slideshows
   
  Lythrum alatum WINGED LOOSESTRIFE
Frank Mayfield
 
  Lythrum alatum WINGED LOOSESTRIFE  

 

slideshow

       
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