Sp. Pl. 1: 146. 1753.


Gen. Pl. ed. 5, 72. 1754 ,.

Common names: Loosestrife
Etymology: Greek lysis, dissolve, and mache, strife, alluding to soothing properties
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 8. Treatment on page 308. Mentioned on page 302, 303, 309.

Herbs [shrubs], perennial, usually not succulent, glabrous or stipitate-glandular; resin canals sometimes obvious. Rhizomes usually present; roots fibrous. Stems erect to ascending, prostrate, decumbent, or trailing, simple or branched. Leaves cauline, opposite, whorled, or alternate, monomorphic (L. lanceolata dimorphic); petiole present or absent; blade linear to elliptic, orbiculate, ovate, lanceolate, oblanceolate, or deltate, base truncate to obtuse, rounded, or cuneate, frequently decurrent on petiole, sometimes also on stem, margins usually entire, rarely sinuate or serrulate, usually plane to revolute, glabrous, irregularly pubescent, ciliolate, or stipitate-glandular, apex obtuse to rounded, acute, or acuminate, surfaces usually glabrous or pubescent, or stipitate-glandular. Inflorescences terminal and/or axillary, racemes, panicles, [umbels], verticils, or solitary flowers; bracts present, sometimes becoming indistinguishable from leaves. Pedicels present (absent in L. maritima). Flowers: sepals 5(–9), green or whitish to pinkish, calyx deeply lobed, lobes usually lanceolate, ovate, or deltate, longer than tube; petals absent or 5(–9), corolla yellow (sometimes with reddish base) or white and sometimes darkly streaked (by resin canals) variously black, brown, maroon, red, or brownish violet, usually rotate (to funnelform or campanulate), deeply lobed, lobes longer than tube, apex variously obtuse to rounded or acute to acuminate, mucronate, or apiculate; stamens 5; filaments connate proximally or distinct; staminodes present or absent. Fruits capsular, globose, 1.3–7 mm, dehiscence valvate. Seeds 1–20+ (unknown in L. nummularia), shiny black, brown, or reddish brown, ovoid to obconic or trigonous or ± hemispheric, sometimes sharply margined or minutely winged, smooth to roughened, sometimes with deciduous, netlike, grayish covering. x = 8–15.


Nearly worldwide, chiefly north temperate, especially Asia.


Glaux Linnaeus; Naumburgia Moench; Steironema Rafinesque

Species ca. 160 (20 in the flora).

H. Handel-Mazzetti (1928), and later J. D. Ray (1956), divided Lysimachia into five subgenera, primarily distinguished on such characters as flower color, number of floral parts, presence/absence of staminodes, inflorescence type, etc. They also indicated that vegetative characters exhibit much variability and transitional traits (particularly in subg. Seleucia: L. ciliata, L. hybrida, L. lanceolata, L. quadriflora, L. radicans, L. tonsa). Ray recognized L. hybrida to be a subspecies of L. lanceolata and treated L. graminea as a narrow-leaved form within L. lanceolata. V. J. Coffey and S. B. Jones (1980) and most recent floras resegregate those species. Additionally, hybrids are also known to occur between some of the species (especially L. quadrifolia, L. terrestris, and L. thyrsiflora), have become well established in some areas, and contribute to taxonomic confusion. As a result, regionally, species may appear quite distinct, but in the flora as a whole, there is a blurring of some species boundaries.

Basal leaves often exhibit different states than medial and distal cauline leaves (e.g., larger blades, longer petioles, etc.). Descriptions of leaves here are based on medial and distal leaves only. Some species are described as having ciliate margins on the petiole or blade base. Petiole “cilia” frequently are actually thickened flaps of tissue, sometimes with widened bases. Flowers are pedicellate, and subtended by bracts or leaves or various transitional forms, which lead to inflorescence transitions, from solitary flowers in axils of leaves to leafy “panicles” to dense racemes. Occasionally, solitary flowers axillary to whorled leaves appear clustered, and have been referred to (as here) as verticils. Most species have a relatively short or long staminal tube. Some (subg. Seleucia) have a series of staminodes alternating, and forming a single whorl, with the fertile stamens. These staminodes are rather short and more or less lanceolate; in Lysimachia thyrsiflora, small teeth are sometimes produced on the staminal tube, perhaps vestiges of staminodes. For a more comprehensive discussion of the morphology, see J. D. Ray (1956). Clearly, more work is needed to understand the species relationships, especially in light of recent research that indicates close affinities among the species of Lysimachia and Trientalis and some Anagallis (see A. A. Anderberg et al. 2007 for further discussion).

Some species are choice ornamentals (e.g., Lysimachia ciliata, L. clethroides, L. nummularia, and L. punctata); L. clethroides and L. nummularia can become overly aggressive and even invasive.


1 Flowers incomplete (apetalous). Lysimachia maritima
1 Flowers complete > 2
2 Corollas white; leaves alternate. Lysimachia clethroides
2 Corollas yellow or yellow with reddish base; leaves opposite or whorled (rarely alternate) > 3
3 Petals and sepals 5-9; filaments equaling or longer than corolla. Lysimachia thyrsiflora
3 Petals and sepals 5; filaments shorter than corolla > 4
4 Staminodes present; leaves ciliate at least on petiole or proximal margins, not punctate; inflorescences usually solitary flowers, rarely verticils > 5
4 Staminodes absent; leaves eciliate, punctate (sometimes obscurely so) at least marginally or apically; inflorescences racemes, panicles, verticils, or solitary flowers > 11
5 Petioles absent or 0.1-0.5(-0.9) cm; leaf blades linear to narrowly lanceolate, venation apparently 1-veined (lateral veins obscure) > 6
5 Petioles usually at least 0.5 cm; leaf blades linear-lanceolate or lanceolate to elliptic or ovate, venation usually pinnate-arcuate > 7
6 Corollas 3.5-7 mm; capsules 2-3.5 mm; petioles absent; leaf blade margins ciliate proximally. Lysimachia graminea
6 Corollas 7-13 mm; capsules 3.5-5 mm; petioles present or absent; leaf blade margins ciliate proximally only near nodes. Lysimachia quadriflora
7 Stems reclining, decumbent, or trailing (sometimes rooting at nodes); corollas 2-6 mm. Lysimachia radicans
7 Stems erect (rarely reclining); corollas 4-12 mm > 8
8 Stems stipitate-glandular or pubescent; petioles ciliate proximally. Lysimachia tonsa
8 Stems glabrous (rarely sparsely stipitate-glandular or pubescent near nodes); petioles ciliate proximally or entire length > 9
9 Leaf blades broadly lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate, 1.5-6.5 cm wide; petioles ciliate entire length. Lysimachia ciliata
9 Leaf blades narrowly elliptic or elliptic-lanceolate to linear-lanceolate, 0.2-3 cm wide; petioles ciliate proximally > 10
10 Stems usually branching proximally; leaves monomorphic, blades 2-18 × 0.5-3 cm, margins eciliolate or ciliolate proximally; capsules 4-6.5 mm. Lysimachia hybrida
10 Stems simple or branching distally; leaves dimorphic, distal blades 3-18 × 0.2-1.6 cm, proximal blades 2-5 × 0.6-1.8 cm, margins ciliolate proximally; capsules 2-5 mm. Lysimachia lanceolata
11 Stems trailing or prostrate to ascending; leaf blades orbiculate to ovate-orbiculate or deltate > 12
11 Stems erect; leaf blades ovate or lanceolate to elliptic, or oblanceolate to linear > 13
12 Corollas not streaked, 5-9 mm; stems pubescent. Lysimachia japonica
12 Corollas streaked with dark resin canals, 10-15 mm; stems glabrous or sparsely stipitate-glandular. Lysimachia nummularia
13 Leaf venation palmate, main veins 3-5. Lysimachia asperulifolia
13 Leaf venation pinnate-arcuate, obscurely pinnate, reticulate, or 1-veined > 14
14 Inflorescences racemes; corollas streaked with dark resin canals; stems usually glabrous or sparsely stipitate-glandular > 15
14 Inflorescences panicles, verticils, or solitary flowers; corollas not streaked (sometimes streaked in plants with solitary flowers); stems usually pubescent (at least nodally) and/or stipitate-glandular > 17
15 Filaments connate at least 1.7 mm; petioles absent or 0.1-3 cm. Lysimachia ×producta
15 Filaments connate to 1 mm; petioles absent or 0.1-1 cm > 16
16 Leaf blades linear to narrowly elliptic, 0.1-0.8 cm wide; bulblets absent; calyx lobes lanceolate. Lysimachia loomisii
16 Leaf blades elliptic-lanceolate to lanceolate, 0.5-2 cm wide; late-season bulblets often present; calyx lobes ovate to lanceolate. Lysimachia terrestris
17 Corollas 5-8 mm, streaked with dark resin canals; calyces streaked with dark resin canals; petioles absent or 0.1-0.3 cm; inflorescences solitary flowers. Lysimachia quadrifolia
17 Corollas 6-19.5 mm, not streaked; calyces not streaked or dark longitudinal marginal lines present; petioles 0.1-1.6 cm; inflorescences panicles (if verticils or solitary flowers then petiole at least 0.5 cm) > 18
18 Corollas 12-19.5 mm; inflorescences verticils or solitary flowers; calyx lobes narrowly lanceolate. Lysimachia punctata
18 Corollas 6-12 mm; inflorescences panicles; calyx lobes lanceolate to ovate > 19
19 Stems stipitate-glandular, especially distally; calyx lobes not streaked with resin canals, 4-6 mm. Lysimachia fraseri
19 Stems pubescent (sometimes obscurely stipitate-glandular); calyx lobes with longitudinal maroon resin canals along margins, 2.5-5 mm. Lysimachia vulgaris
... more about "Lysimachia"
Anita F. Cholewa +
Linnaeus +
Loosestrife +
Nearly worldwide +, chiefly north temperate +  and especially Asia. +
Greek lysis, dissolve, and mache, strife, alluding to soothing properties +
Sp. Pl. +  and Gen. Pl. ed. +
coffey1980a +, handel-mazzetti1928a +, hao2004a +  and ray1956a +
Lysimachia +
Myrsinaceae +