Lythrum salicaria

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaLythraceaeLythrumLythrum salicaria


A perennial herb growing on the margins of slow-flowing rivers, canals, lakes, flooded gravel-pits, in tall-herb fens and willow carr. It thrives in permanently wet, or periodically inundated, fertile soils and tends to avoid acidic conditions. 0-440 m (Lake Ferta, S. Kerry).



World Distribution

Eurasian Temperate element, but naturalised in N. America so distribution is now Circumpolar Temperate.

© M. Cotterill, IWNHAS

Broad Habitats

Fen, marsh and swamp (not wooded)

Light (Ellenberg): 7

Moisture (Ellenberg): 9

Reaction (Ellenberg): 7

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 5


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 4

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 15

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1024

Life form information

Height (cm): 120

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary




Clonality - primary

Little or no vegetative spread

Distribution information

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 1692

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 827

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 8

Atlas Change Index: -0.08

Weighted Changed Factor: 15

Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)


Distribution information

JNCC Designations


PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections. A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Atlas text references

Atlas (142d)
Hultén E, Fries M
1986.  Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
Mal TK, Lovett-Doust J, Lovett-Doust L, Mulligan GA
1992.  The biology of Canadian weeds. 100. Lythrum salicaria. Canadian Journal of Plant Science. 72:1305-1330.
Meusel H, Jäger E, Rauschert S, Weinert E
1978.  Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 2. 2 vols.