Definition of loosestrife in US English:



  • Any of various tall plants that bear upright spikes of flowers.

    several plants of the genus Lythrum (family Lythraceae), in particular the purple loosestrife (L. salicaria) of the Old World, now well established in North America

    several yellow-flowered plants of the genus Lysimachia (family Primulaceae), in particular the garden loosestrife (L. vulgaris) of Eurasia and North America

    • ‘A semi-transparent boundary is formed by panels of rustic larch trellis, and ornamental hedging and a mass of cottage flowers, including a white mallow, lavender, loosestrife, hardy geraniums and a pale pink Rosa glauca ‘New Dawn’.’
    • ‘Wildflowers here include water parsnip, fringed loosestrife, and hedge nettle.’
    • ‘Purple loosestrife can grow to 3-9 feet tall with several, square stalks per plant.’
    • ‘Purple loosestrife will grow vigorously and clog irrigation canals, ditches, stream banks and reservoirs, resulting in less water available for crop production and recreation.’
    • ‘Place the freshly cut stems in a bottle of water and place in contact with the defoliated loosestrife plants.’


Mid 16th century: from loose + strife, taking the Greek name lusimakheion (actually from Lusimakhos, the name of its discoverer) to be directly from luein ‘undo’ + makhē ‘battle’.