Yellow Loosestrife Down By The Lake

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  Also known as Herb Willow, Willow Wort, Wood Pimpernel.

  BELONGS to the Primrose Family of plants. It is in no way related to Purple Loosestrife

  LOOKS LIKE - The upright, hairy stems often grow in clumps with lance shaped leaves in pairs and whorls of three or four. They have clusters of yellow flowers on stems and branches.

  HAS FLOWERS FROM - July to August.

  CAN BE SPOTTED - on fens, river and lake margins, wet woods, ditches, marshes throughout Britain (not Scotland), most of Europe, North Africa and East to Japan.

  STORY - It seemed that if Loosestrife was thrown between two fighting oxen they will stop fighting and if it was tied around their necks they wouldn't fight at all.

  POLLINATION - The flowers have no scent or honey but a number of wasps and one tiny bee pollinate the plant.

  NAME - Two possible explanations of the botanical name. One was that tieing bunches of Yellow Loosestrife around the necks of animals would repel biting insects and keep the animal more docile. So the plant was called 'Lysimachia' after two Greek words meaning 'to loosen strife'.
The other explanation was that 'Lysimachus', King of Thrace, found medical uses for the plant and it was named after him.

 USES FROM THE PAST - In the 17th century a herbalist also recommended it for nose and mouth bleeding and upset stomachs. He also advised burning the dried herb so the smoke would drive away flies and gnats so it was particularly valuable in marshy districts. Snakes and serpents were said to disappear as soon as the smoke appeared.

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