Sunday, August 01, 2004

1Aug2004 Loostrife and Liatris

Sunny, hot. Thermometer in shade reads 76.1ºat 1:00. Radio says 86ºhigh.

Liatris was what our table was labeled at Charlie and Amanda's wedding last night. There was a singele stem of purple in the vase. It looked alot like Purple Loosestrife from a distance. Debbie found our table for us. Liatris is native -good, and can be mistaken for the more widely known Purple Loosetrife, the invasive that takes over watery places, ditches and crowds out native environments like crazy, making a monoculture where most everything starves.
Interestingly the root of loosestrife comes from lose through the greek Lisis meaning loss or sudden change and strife or struggle according to my Merriman Webster 1970's addition. Loosestrifes in general and Purple Loosestrife in particular are lythrums, family Lythracea. They are related to primroses. Purple Loosestrifes sure do take over and mess up disturbed areas.
I am intrigued, want to gain understanding as to how to go the other way from disturbing environments to regenerating them gradually, one step at a time. It is an up and coming subject. I saw the area out at Kensington Park where people, seeing how much area Buckthorn can take over and make sterile and Walmart-like, took out the buckthorn by sawing off the trees and using Round Up to kill the stumps. Seems a simplistic answer for a complex problem. I haven't been back there to see what they have done in such a wide, bare area.
It is important we don't mistake Liatris (Liatris Graminifola, often called grass leaved liatris) for Purple Loosestrife. It it does have little rhizomes but is not invasive, reproduces mostly by seed. Liatris is a daisy relative (Compositae) and comes in both purple and white. Considered a wild flower, I want this plant in my mix.
Summing up; Liatris-good, Purple Loosestrife-bad. That's all.


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