California Loosestrife

Lythrum californicum

Lythrum californicum photo © Michael Plagens

Photographed in the foothills of Four Peaks, Maricopa Co., Arizona at Mesquite Wash. Oct 2009.

FLOWERS: Flowers are purple or lavender usually with six petals, six stamens and six sepals. In the notch between each sepal is a short spur. View an enlarged photo on Flickr.

RANGE: In the Sonoran Desert this plant is found in moist soils in riparian habitats. Ranges from California to Texas and hence south into Mexico.

LEAVES: Alternately arranged leaves are linear and well distributed along the stems.

HERBACEOUS PERENNIAL: Several to many erect, leafy stems from an underground stolon. Most stems about a meter or a bit taller. Stem has noticeable ridges running lengthwise.

FRUIT: The many seeded capsule is closely enveloped by the calyx, which is vertically pleated.


Lythraceae -- Loosestrife Family

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More Information:

Sonoran Desert Field Guide
Sonoran Desert Places
Sonoran Desert Naturalist Home Page


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 26 Oct. 2009,
updated 25 July 2015.