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Decodon verticillatus (Swamp loosestrife)
Cressler, Alan

Decodon verticillatus

Decodon verticillatus (L.) Elliott

Swamp Loosestrife, Swamp-loosestrife, Water Willow

Lythraceae (Loosestrife Family)

Synonym(s): Decodon verticillatus var. laevigatus


USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

A shrubby perennial with 1-10 ft. long, arching, leafy stems, often rooting at the tips. The lance-shaped leaves are opposite or in whorls of 3-4. Arching stems have showy, deep pink flowers in tufts in the axils of the upper, opposite or whorled, willow-like leaves. Bell-shaped, pink-purple flowers occur in dense clusters in the upper leaf axils.

The many intertwining, arching stems of this herb- to shrub-like plant may form sizable patches at the edges of lakes and sluggish streams or on floating bog mats. Wherever a stem touches the water, air-filled, spongy tissue may develop. This tissue buoys the stem so that it may root and form a new arching stem. Despite one of its common names and its willow-like leaves, the plant is not related to the willows.


From the Image Gallery

12 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Stems erect or arching, up to about 10 feet long.
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Jul , Aug , Sep


USA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , PA , RI , SC , TN , TX , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: NB , NS
Native Distribution: N.S. to Ont. & MN, s. to FL & TX
Native Habitat: Swamps; pond edges

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Moist soils.
Conditions Comments: Good for large bog gardens and pond margins, often arching over the water. Var. verticillatus occurs mostly near the coast; var. laevigatus is mostly inland.


Conspicuous Flowers: yes


Description: The self-rooting tips of branches can be removed and transplanted.
Commercially Avail: yes

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Decodon verticillatus in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Decodon verticillatus in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Decodon verticillatus


Record Modified: 2023-02-06
Research By: TWC Staff

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