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whorled loosestrife (Lysimachia quadrifolia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COMMON NAMES:
whorled yellow loosestrife
crosswort
five-sisters
four-leaved loosestrife
liberty tea
wild-tea
yellow-balm

 

SCIENTIFIC SYNONYMS: There are no scientific synonyms for
Lysimachia quadrifolia.

 

CONFIRMATION STATUS: Pending confirmation.

 

TAXONOMY: The currently accepted scientific name for whorled
loosestrife is Lysimachia quadrifolia L.

 

NATIVE STATUS: Native, United States and Canada.

 

GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS:

 

Habit: Whorled loosestrife is an erect, perennial, 1 to 3 feet tall forb.

Stems are smooth, rarely branched, usually sparsely pubesceent (or

glabrous), at least at nodes.

 

Leaves: Leaves (3 to 7) are whorled, without a petiole, prickly. The

leaf blades are elliptic to lance- olate or ovate, dotted with a hairy

underside. The leaf base is cuneate or rounded, slightly decurrent,

margins entire, plane, glabrous or occassionally sparsely pubescent.

The leaf apex is acuminate or acute (rarely obtuse), pubescent at

least along the leaf underside veins and margins; venation is arranged

feather-like on either side of a common axis or are arching or curved

like a bow.

 

Flowers: The inflorescences are axillary in leaves with solitary flowers.

Individual flower pedicels 1.5 to 3 cm, sparsely hairy. Flowers have
5 sepals, with a calyx streaked with dark resin canals, lobes lanceolate
with thin margins. Whorled loosestrife has 5 petals with a yellow corolla
and a reddish base and, occassionally margins, streaked with black or
maroon resin canals.

 

Fruit/Seeds: Fruit capsules are 3 to 3.5 mm; they are smooth,
without hairs.

 

Roots: Roots are long, creeping on or near the surface of the ground.

Rhizomes are slender to somewhat thickened; bulblets absent.

 

REGENERATION PROCESS: Whorled loosestrife propogates itself
by reseeding.

 

HABITAT TYPES: Whorled loosestrife occurs in dry to mesic hard-

wood forests, open woodlands, thickets, lowlands, fens, moist clearings,

roadsides, and fields, rocky thickets and slopes, and seashores.

 

SITE CHARACTERISTICS: Whorled loosestrife prefers light (sandy),
medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil.
The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in
semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.

 

SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT: Whorled loosestrife blooms from June
through July, fruiting from August to October.

 

GENERAL DISTRIBUTION: Whorled loosestrife naturally occurs east
of the Mississippi/Missouri Rivers region, extending north from Georgia

to New Brunswick, Canada. It does not occur in the maritime provinces

of Canada, but does extend west to Ontario.

 

SKY MEADOWS DISTRIBUTION: To be determined.

 

IMPORTANCE AND USES: Butterflies and insects visit whorled loose-
strife; however, there is insufficient information concerning the full extent
of faunal interactions with whorled loosestrife.

 

During the American Revolution, patriots refused to drink tea imported
from England. Whorled loosestrife was dried, steeped and consumed as

tea. It was known as “Liberty Tea”. The leaves and stalks of whorled

loosestrife yield brown-yellow dye. In earlier times, the gels and oint-

ments prepared from this plant were used externally for dermatological

purposes. Whorled loosestrife has astringent properties.

 

 

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