Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) is a common invasive plant in Maine. The plant propagates by seed and invades many types of wetlands where it crowds out native plants and degrades wetland habitat. We certainly don’t want it getting a foothold around Clary Lake! A little over a week ago while out fishing, I spotted 2 purple loosestrife plants growing on the south shore of Clary Lake. Yesterday afternoon, CLA President Malcolm Burson and trudged across the marsh and dug them up and hauled them off which is the approved method of control for this plant. If you just cut them down, they will regrow from the roots though I know from experience that if you keep cutting them down a few years running, eventually the plant will die. I actually cut this particular plant down last summer and it regrew this year from the root stock. Digging them up is the sure-fire way to rid yourself of this invasive plant. There are a few more pictures in the Spring/Summer 2018 photo gallery.
If you spot this plant growing around Clary Lake, please let us know! If you’re confident you can remove it yourself, go ahead but if you’d like some assistance, get in touch. The plant spreads by seed so it’s important, if the plant has started to go to seed that you carefully cut off the flower stalks and bag them before attempting to dig up the plant, lest you spread the seeds around in the process of removing the plant. It’s a shallow rooted plant, and young plants can be simply pulled up but established plants like the one pictured here can have a large root system and has to be dug out with a shovel or spading fork. The best way to dispose of the plant is to remove it from the site and put it somewhere it can dry out in the sun, and then burn it.
While we were attending to these two loosestrife plants I noticed that the ground was literally covered with the Common spatulate-leaf sundew plant (Drosera intermedia) pictured at left (I’ve added this photograph to the Aquatic Plants page). This variety is not to be confused with the endangered English Sundew (Drosera anglica Huds). This plant is not an aquatic plant, so you’ll find it growing adjoining a march or wetland, but not actually growing in the water. I’ve seen this plant growing on shady roadside cuts.