Extension Viewpoints: About purple loosestrife, a perennial weed

2020/05/extension-viewpoints-image001-216x300.gif Photo courtesy Julie Kraft
Purple loosestrife

By Ethan Proud

PREVIEW Columnist

Purple loosestrife is a perennial weed species that can be found in rivers, streams, ponds and lakes. 

This plant may be identified by its square stem and whorled, lance-shaped leaves. The flowers have five petals and grow in a raceme or spike at the top. Flowers bloom from the bottom up. Purple loosestrife may be mistaken as dame’s rocket, another noxious weed species, or one of our native flora such as fireweed or a number of geraniums.

Currently, there are no reports of purple loosestrife in Archuleta County, though it is present in Colorado. The closest populations to Archuleta are in Montrose and El Paso counties. Using the eddmaps future range prediction tool, purple loosestrife is expected to be present in all Colorado counties by 2040-2060.

Purple loosestrife is an A List species, meaning that its eradication is legally mandated. The Colorado Department of Agriculture recommends hand-pulling the entire plant (be sure to get the entire root), clipping the flowering heads prior to seed production and using an aquatic herbicide. The best management practice is prevention, though. If you travel to an area with purple loosestrife, clean your boots, boat, fishing gear, etc., before returning to our county.

If you see this species, please report it to the Weed and Pest Department at 264-6773 or eproud@archuletacounty.org. 

Archuleta County Weed and Pest is your local resource for managing noxious weed populations and controlling other pests.

Upcoming events

May 28: With hopes that CSU approves, the Extension office will hold a Colorado Master Gardener Day from 1 to 3 p.m. Bring your plants/samples in for help with ID and problem solving. Please look on the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/CSUARCHCTY/ for updates.

May 28, 6:30 to 8 p.m.: Save the date for the Watershed Enhancement Partnership. Zoom information coming.

June 3, 4 to 6 p.m.: Shred Day. Downtown TBK Bank parking lot. Donations support Archuleta County 4-H programs. NAID Certified. The cost is $5 per box.