The purple loosestrife is an aquatic invasive species that has infested almost all of the continental United States, and has become an especially huge problem because it outcompetes native wetland plants, many of which are endangered to begin with. It arrived in America via ship ballast water, and medicinal purposes. Without any natural predators, and incredible reproductive abilities, producing up to 2.7 million seeds on a mature plant in just one summer, it can quickly transform an aquatic habitat. Also, unless it turns out that it is a very localized and isolated case of purple loosestrife, there are presently no effective solutions to get rid of the plant. The only solutions that currently exist are either highly time consuming, such as removing the plant by hand, or incredibly expensive, like using herbicides.
I think that this invasive species sounds like a huge problem, and considering that it’s spread throughout the United States, I’m surprised that I had only ever heard of it through my environmental science classes and not through the media, because with the current state of wetlands in the country, more should be done about their preservation, given how high the percentage of endangered species are in wetlands. I was wondering though, is there some sort of way that fungus or blight could be utilized against this species? They have tried using insects, but it hasn’t completely worked.
Photo from here.
The comment about using a fungus or insects being used is really interesting. To be able to find something that used the purple loosestrife as its food source would be a great way to diminish the problem that we are facing.That might take a little bit of research to find that out but it would be worth a shot.
I was interested by your post because the picture you put up for this species is very pretty, which always surprises me about invasive species. Also, I discussed in my article how one of the issues with invasive species is that they are not advertised in the news, thus, people aren’t really aware of the issues. It seems like you agree with this statement, since you point out that you hadn’t really heard of the purple loosestrife until your environmental class. I definitely believe that if people were more aware of the issue, then it would be easier to find solutions, including maybe finding better ways to eradicate problems with invasive species (such as the fungus idea you proposed.)