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Plant Profile: Gooseneck Loosestrife (Lysimachia clethroides)

Native to moist soils of China and Japan, this clump-forming herbaceous perennial is a member of the primrose family, Primulaceae, that also includes cyclamen.  It grows up to 3′ tall from a rhizomatious root system and has  medium green leaves that are ovate-lanceolate, 3-6″ long, and turn orange-red in the fall. In late spring, gooseneck-shaped racemes  12-18″ long appear bearing densely packed tiny, star-shaped white flowers 1/2″ wide.  The plants are very vigorous in moist soil and may be somewhat invasive but are easily pulled out.  They look best grouped in an informal setting such as cottage or wet meadow gardens.  The genus name, Lysimachia,  honors King Lysimachus (661-281 B.C.), Macedonian King of Thrace.  The specific epithet, clethroides, is from the Greek  klēthra, the name for  alder, and refers to the remblance of the plants to those in the genus Clethra.  

Type: Herbaceous perennial

Bloom: Small white flowers  on gooseneck-shaped spike from late spring to early summer

Size: 3’ H x 3” W

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Soil:  Humusy, consistently moist, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 3-9

Care: Deadhead to prolong bloom; control spread

Pests and Diseases: None of importance

Propagation: Division in spring or fall

Companion plants: Gayfeather (Liatris spp.),Siberian iris, daylily, beebalm

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