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Lythrum californicum (California loosestrife)
Richardson, Charmaine

Lythrum californicum

Lythrum californicum Torr. & A. Gray

California Loosestrife

Lythraceae (Loosestrife Family)


USDA Symbol: LYCA4

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

California Loosestrife grows to 2 feet tall. The alternate leaves are about 1 inch long. There are 4-6 purple flowers, sometimes more, along the upper third of the stem. The sepals form a short tube for the blossoms, which open out into 6 soft petals, 3/4-1 inch across (248).


From the Image Gallery

9 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 5 feet tall, often much shorter.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Purple
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov


USA: AZ , CA , KS , NM , NV , OK , TX , UT
Native Habitat: Riparian areas and near water bodies and low spots mainly in South Central and West Texas.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist
Conditions Comments: California Loosestrife is a native species, not to be confused with the exotic and invasive Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria and others). It colonizes by roots and does well in bog gardens. The inflorescence of California Loosestrife is attractive as a cut flower. Provides nectar for adult butterflies. Will also grow in a well drained garden with average water. Good for wetland gardens and habitat.


Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Birds
Nectar Source: yes


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:

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Nueces River Authority - Uvalde, TX

Herbarium Specimen(s)

NPSOT 1078 Collected Jun 10, 1996 in Bexar County by Mike Fox

1 specimen(s) available in the Digital Herbarium


Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller
Bibref 286 - Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country (1989) Enquist, M.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

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


Record Modified: 2023-02-17
Research By: TWC Staff

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