University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science

Perennial of the Month - February 2001

Lysimachia punctata 'Alexander'

(lii-sim-ache' ee-ah punc-tah' tah)

Common name: Variegated Yellow Loosestrife

Family: Primrose (Primulaceae)

Height x width: 2 ft x 1 ft

Growth rate: slow-- the main and noteworthy difference from the species which is quite root invasive, this one especially in the north forms a clump and stays put!

Foliage: leaves whorled in 3s or 4s, 1 to 1.5 inches long and roughly elliptic, slightly hairy (puberulent) and on stems; one of main and important differences from species is the creamy variegated leaves irregularly around the margins, often with tinges of pink

Flowers: also whorled in 3s to 5s, to 1" across, golden yellow, upward facing, mid-summer for up to 4-6 weeks

Hardiness: USDA zone 4

Soil: average moist loam, tolerates poor

Light: full sun

Pests and problems: few, too dry and leaves brown on edges, possibly mites, feeding from groundhogs and deer

Landscape habit, uses: variegated accent in borders, small groupings, against red leaves or darker backgrounds, fronts of borders, large containers

Other interest: species is naturalized in the eastern U.S.; common name is a literal translation of the Greek word lysimachia which was named after King Lysimachus of Thrace. Legend has it that he waved a plant of it in front of a maddened beast to calm it; or as Gerard in his herbal of the middle ages wrote, it was used to calm angry oxen from putting it on their yokes "appeasing the strife and unrulinesse which falleth out among oxen at the plough..."

Other culture: keep moist, may tolerate some wet soil

Propagation: cuttings, although commercial propagation is prohibited as patent pending

Sources: many specialty nurseries and mail order firms (see links)

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