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Lysimachia terrestris (Earth loosestrife)
Cressler, Alan

Lysimachia terrestris

Lysimachia terrestris (L.) Britton, Sterns & Poggenb.

Earth Loosestrife, Swamp Candles

Primulaceae (Primrose Family)

Synonym(s): Lysimachia terrestris var. ovata

USDA Symbol: lyte2

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

Erect stems with opposite leaves and racemes of star-like, yellow flowers with 2 red spots at the base of each petal.

This handsome species was introduced into Cranberry bogs in the Northwest from the East. In a wetland garden this showy species will spread rapidly by underground stems. Loomis' Loosestrife (L. loomisii), with candle-like clusters of yellow flowers and whorled, very narrow, 1-inch-long (2.5 cm) leaves, occurs from North Carolina to Georgia. Tufted Loosestrife (L. thyrsiflora), looks very different, with flower clusters borne from the axils of the lower leaves. It is found in swamps and bogs in much of Canada, south to New Jersey, west to West Virginia, Missouri, Colorado, and California. Swamp Candles freely hybridize with Whorled Loosestrife (L. quadrifolia), producing lovely intermediates, and with Tufted Loosestrife, producing plants with both terminal and axillary flower clusters.


From the Image Gallery

13 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 3 feet tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Red , Yellow
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug


USA: CT , DC , DE , GA , IA , ID , IL , IN , KY , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , OR , PA , RI , SC , TN , VA , VT , WA , WI , WV
Canada: BC , MB , NB , NL , NS , ON , PE , QC
Native Distribution: Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and Ontario; south through New England to Georgia; west to Kentucky and Arkansas; north to Iowa, Minnesota, Manitoba, Western Washington.
Native Habitat: Swampy or boggy areas.

Growing Conditions

Soil Moisture: Moist


Conspicuous Flowers: yes

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

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.

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


Record Modified: 2023-05-03
Research By: TWC Staff

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