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Purple loosestrife, known for its beautiful purple flowers and landscape value, was brought to the United States from Europe in the 1800's. It has become a serious pest to native wetland communities where it out-competes native plants. Native plants are vital to wetland wildlife for food and shelter. Each year, more than a million acres of wetlands in the U.S. are taken over by this plant.
To control the spread of purple loosestrife, a state law was enacted on July 1, 1996, that prohibits the sale of ALL forms of purple loosestrife (any variety, species, horticultural variety, cultivar), or other members of the genus Lythrum, whether reportedly sterile or not.
The Department of Natural Resources has also been releasing insects to control purple loosestrife where it has successfully escaped into wetlands.