This perennial wildflower is 1¼-2½' tall and unbranched. The central
stem is light green to purplish red and usually glabrous, although
sometimes slightly hairy along the upper half of its length. Scale-like
leaves occur toward the bottom of this stem, otherwise there are pairs
of opposite leaves about 2-6" long and ¼-2" across; these latter leaves
are linear-elliptic to elliptic in shape, smooth along
their margins, and usually sessile (otherwise, short-petiolate). The
leaves become larger in size as they ascend the stem. The
upper surface of the leaves is medium to dark green and glabrous, while
lower surface is pale to medium green and either glabrous or sparsely
Short dense racemes of flowers about 1-1½" long and 1" across are
produced from the axils of the middle leaves on peduncles about ½-2"
long. Individual flowers are about 1/3" (8 mm.) across, consisting of a
pale yellow to yellow corolla with 5-7 lobes, a pale green to yellow
5-7 lobes, 5-7 exerted stamens, and a pistil with an exerted style.
Both the corolla and calyx are deeply divided into linear-elliptic
lobes that are widely spreading; the corolla is about twice the length
of the calyx. The peduncles are light green to purplish red and usually
hairy. The pedicels of the flowers are up to 1/8" (3 mm.) long. Dark
glandular dots may
be visible on the flowers, stems, and leaves. The blooming period
occurs from late spring to mid-summer for about 3-5 weeks. Fertile
flowers are replaced by small seed capsules about 1/8" (3 mm.) across.
Individual capsules contain relatively few triangular seeds, which are
eventually released to the wind or water. The shallow root system is
rhizomatous. Occasionally, clonal offsets are formed from the rhizomes.
The preference is full or partial sun, wet to
moist conditions, soil containing sandy or peaty material,
and summer temperatures that are not excessively hot.
Range & Habitat:
The native Tufted Loosestrife is
NE Illinois and parts of central Illinois, otherwise it is rare or
absent (see Distribution
). In addition to North America, this
circumboreal species also occurs in Eurasia. Habitats include openings
in floodplain woodlands, swamps, sandy marshes, bogs, and soggy meadows
along streams or ponds. Tufted Loosestrife is found in higher quality
The flowers of Lysimachia spp.
cross-pollinated by bees in the Melittid family. In Illinois, Macropis
is the most typical visitor of the flowers,
collects both floral oil and pollen. Sometimes small Halictid bees
collect pollen as well. The caterpillars of Papaipema lysimachiae
(Loosestrife Borer Moth) bore through the stems of Tufted Loosestrife
and other Lysimachia
Information about this wildflower's
interrelationships with vertebrate wildlife is currently unavailable.
A sandy marsh in Lucas County, NW
Mohlenbrock (2009) uses the scientific name, Naumbergia
, to refer to this species. This is a monotypic
Because of its ball-like clusters of flowers with exerted stamens,
Tufted Loosestrife is easily identified when it is in bloom. Other
produce larger flowers that are more separated from
each other. In spite of the similarity in their common names, this
group of plants should not be confused with Lythrum alatum
(Purple Loosestrife) and other species
in the Loosestrife family (Lythraceae).