Thursday, 21 July 2011

The Wonderwoman of the Plant World

Lythrum salicaria
This plant, commonly known as Purple Loostrife, is a one-stop chemist of a plant.  Practically anything that is wrong with you can be cured with this plant, according to my herbal.
Uses:  The leaves are eaten as an emergency vegetable and fermented into a mild alcohol.  The astringent leaves tighten skin, counter wrinkles, and add sheen to blond hair.  The herb adds brightness to eyes and reduces puffiness.  It shrinks blood capillaries, reducing over-reddened skin and curbing nose bleeds.  The flowering plant is an intestinal disinfactant, treating diarrhoea and food poisoning.  It acts as a typhus antibiotic, a sore throat gargle, and is given for fevers, liver problems, to cleans sores, and stop bleeding wounds.
It must have been a godsend to ancient apothocaries and witches.
Lythrum verticillatum has similar uses, and is planted in pastures to prevent abortion in cows and mares.
This British native must have been invaluable and grown in the earliest cottage gardens. 
They prefer wet, even boggy soil, but are very adaptable, also flowering well in dry conditions.  Either way, they like sunshine.  It is a clump-forming perennial with racemes of clear pink flower spikes produced from mid to late summer.  Good for cutting.

Lythrum 'Robin'
 This pretty free-flowering perennial which has narrow dark green leaves produces an abundance of pink flowers on tall spikes, and flowers throughout the summer,  Remove dead flowers to encourage another flush later.

1 comment:

  1. A good choice for any garden, especially as it's a native plant! Flighty xx