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Purple loosestrife, Lythrum salicaria, is a member of the Loosestrife family (Lythraceae). It is a large, perennial, wetland plant that can grow up to 9 feet (3 m) tall. It was introduced to the northeastern United States and Canada in the 1800s from Europe, probably as seed contained in soil used as ship’s ballast. It was also brought to North America for ornamental and medicinal purposes.