Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) is a non-native, taprooted, perennial forb. It is native to Europe and was introduced to North America as an ornamental plant for gardens. It has escaped into natural areas such as streambanks and shallow ponds. Purple loosestrife reproduces primarily by seed. A single, mature plant can produce up to three million seeds per year. The seeds can remain viable in the soil for 5 to 20 years. Pieces of roots or stems also can produce new plants. Purple loosestrife produces multiple four-sided stems that can grow two to eight feet tall. Leaves are two to five inches long, lanceshaped and whorled on the stems. Flowers are tightly grouped in long, vertical heads; they bloom from the bottom up. They are pinkish-purple in color, about one inch long, and have five to seven petals. Flowers appear from late June through September.