Yellow Loosestrife

Yellow Loosestrife

Yellow Loosestrife or Garden Yellow Loosestrife - Lysimachia vulgaris

Plant up to a metre and a half heigh, with downy erect stem, branched at the top. Lanceolate leaves up to 12 cm long with short stalk, wavy along unbroken margin; leaves can be opposite or arranged in whorls of 3 or 4.

The 5-petalled golden yellow flowers, which inspired their common Italian name (Mazza d'oro= bunch of gold), are arranged in clusters at the top of the stem and branches.

Although unscented, they still attract wasps and other pollinating insects. The fruits are very conspicuous globous capsules. It flowers from May to August.

Lysimachia vulgaris lives in the marshlands, at the edges of cane beds, in wet meadows, along ditches and water courses, on the banks of lakes, especially in habitats that are filling up.

It is a polymorphous species, i.e. able to change its characteristics depending on the particular ecological conditions under which it lives.

Generally the plant grows in small groups, rooting in the mud, but in some cases even in permanently flooded areas when it can develop long above-ground stolons.

As well as its size and colour, even the shape of the flower organs can change in relation to the to the conditions of light; if necessary it can resort to self pollination.

The species is common in central north Italy, thinning out in the south. It does not occur in Sardinia.