Saturday, June 03, 2006

Loostrife Report No. Three

This is year three that I am reporting on Purple Loosestrife [Lythrum salicaria L.] According to "Weeds of Canada and the Northern United States", 1999, by France Royer and Richard Dickinson, ISBN 0-88864-311-X, Purple Loosestrife has been introduced in the late 1800s, and yet it was only in the last couple of decades that the plant has become an invasive and unmanageable plant. As a kid I can still remember seeing the plant grow along the roadside and often picked it and brought it home to Ma to put in a vase.

Two years ago I posted a lament on the loosestrife curse. Last year I reported the finding of the loosestrife beetle or Galerucella beetle and this year in Heartwoodlot the loosestrife has become basically invisible. Whatever plants remain are no more than some 30 cm. (1 foot) tall and all are riddled with holes in the leaves. Each plant is literally infested with several Galerucella beetles such as the couple pictured here. There are also egg clusters visible. I believe that this is the Galerucella calmariensis or black margined beetle, but I am no expert. Obviously the beetle population is doing well but its food supply is dwindling and hence the overcrowding.

The only problem now is that we no longer get that beautiful view of the purple field, but we can live with that. I do like the cattails and bulrushes just as much and they are now re-emerging nicely.