Environmental Management

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 365–370 | Cite as

Migration and control of purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria L.) along highway corridors

  • Douglas A. Wilcox


The east-west density gradient and the pattern and mode of migration of the wetland exotic, purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria L.), were assessed in a survey of populations along the New York State Thruway from Albany to Buffalo to determine if the highway corridor contributed to the spread of this species. During the peak flowering season of late July to early August, individual colonies of purple loosestrife were identified and categorized into three size classes in parallel belt transects consisting of the median strip and highway rights-of-way on the north and south sides of the road. Data were also collected on the presence of colonies adjacent to the corridor and on highway drainage patterns. Although a distinct east-west density gradient existed in the corridor, it corresponded to the gradient on adjacent lands and was greatly influenced by a major infestation at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge. The disturbed highway corridor served as a migration route for purple loosestrife, but topographic features dictated that this migration was a short-distance rather than long-distance process. Ditch and culvert drainage patterns increased the ability of purple loosestrife to migrate to new wetland sites. Management strategies proposed to reduce the spread of this wetland threat include minimizing disturbance, pulling by hand, spraying with glyphosate, disking, and mowing.

Key words

Purple loosestrife Lythrum salicaria Interstate highway Migration Density gradient Control Management 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Literature cited

  1. Balogh, G. R. 1986. Ecology, distribution, and control of purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) in northwest Ohio. MS thesis. Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, 107 pp.Google Scholar
  2. Conover, W.J. 1980. Practical nonparametric statistics. John Wiley & Sons, New York.Google Scholar
  3. Gaudet, C. L., and P. A. Keddy. 1988. A comparative approach to predicting competitive ability from plant traits.Nature 334:242–243.Google Scholar
  4. Rawinski, T.J. 1982. The ecology and management of purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria L.) in central New York. MS thesis. Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, 88 pp.Google Scholar
  5. Rawinski, T. J., and R. A. Malecki. 1984. Ecological relationships among purple loosestrife, cattail, and wildlife at the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge.New York Fish and Game Journal 31:81–87.Google Scholar
  6. Shamsi, S. R. A., and F. H. Whitehead. 1974. Comparative ecophysiology ofEpilobium hirsutum L. andLythrum salicaria L. 1. General biology, distribution, and germination.Journal of Ecology 62:279–290.Google Scholar
  7. Skinner, L. 1988. Purple loosestrife control studies in Hennepin Parks.North Central Chapter Society of Wetland Scientists Newsletter 11:8–10.Google Scholar
  8. Smith, S.J. 1962. Purple loosestrife—weed or beauty?Conservationist 17:32.Google Scholar
  9. Stuckey, R. L. 1980. Distributional history ofLythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife) in North America.Bartonia 47:3–21.Google Scholar
  10. Teale, E. W. 1982. Stems beyond counting, flowers unnumbered.Audubon 84:38–43.Google Scholar
  11. Thompson, D. Q., R. L. Stuckey, and E. B. Thompson. 1987. Spread, impact, and control of purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) in North American wetlands. US Fish and Wildlife Service, Fish and Wildlife Research 2, 55 pp.Google Scholar
  12. Wilcox, D. A., and M. K. Seeling. 1986. Cattails as a competitive control for purple loosestrife (Indiana).Restoration and Management Notes 4(2):85.Google Scholar
  13. Wilcox, D. A., M. K. Seeling, and K. R. Edwards. 1989. Ecology and management potential for purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria).In L. K. Thomas (ed.), Ecology and management of exotic species on wild land communities. George Wright Society and US National Park Service, Hancock, Michigan (in press).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Douglas A. Wilcox
    • 1
  1. 1.US Fish and Wildlife ServiceNational Fisheries Research Center-Great LakesAnn ArborUSA

Personalised recommendations