noun \ˈlü(s)-ˌstrīf\

Definition of LOOSESTRIFE

:  any of a genus (Lysimachia) of plants of the primrose family with leafy stems and usually yellow or white flowers
:  any of a genus (Lythrum, family Lythraceae, the loosestrife family) of herbs having entire leaves and including some with showy spikes of purple flowers; especially :  purple loosestrife


intended as translation of Greek lysimacheios loosestrife (as if from lysis act of loosing + machesthai to fight) — more at lysis
First Known Use: 1548


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Any ornamental plant of the family Lythraceae, especially in the genera Lythrum and Decodon, and Lysimachia of the family Myrsinaceae. Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), native to Eurasia, grows 2–6 ft (0.6–1.8 m) high on riverbanks and in ditches. Its branched stem bears whorls of narrow, pointed, stalkless leaves and ends in tall, tapering spikes of red-purple flowers. Introduced into North America early in the 19th century, it has become a noxious weed in many parts of the U.S. and Canada because its dense growth outcompetes native wetland vegetation that provides food and habitat for wildlife.


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