Lysimachia congestiflora

Today’s Botany Photo of the Day once again comes from the album that Douglas Justice collected on his recent trip to China. Douglas also provided the attached write-up.

The genus Lysimachia consists of about 180 species worldwide, most of which are in the northern subtropics and temperate zone, with a few species scattered throughout Africa, Australia, and South America. According to Flora of China, 138 species are native to China. Most species are recognized easily as robust plants with oppositely arranged, (usually) pointed leaves and mostly yellow flowers arranged around a characteristically reddish centre. Due to the reputed medicinal qualities of a number of species, the common name for the genus is yellow loosestrife . This species is evidently used to treat fractures, contusions, and strains, though Flora doesn’t mention precisely how the plant might be employed for these maladies.

I photographed this little beauty crawling around in the sand and gravel on the side of a road in Sichou (Sichow) County in southern Yunnan Province. Clearly, this is a tough plant. While admiring it, it struck me that it looked very familiar, and indeed, this species is commonly grown in the West. Lysimachia congestiflora has been adopted by the bedding plant industry because of its compact growth and long flowering tendencies. Lysimachia species are notoriously persistent plants (many are weedy) and this one appears to be even tougher than most. The cultivars 'Persian Chocolate' (with purple leaves) and 'Golden Harvest' (with red and gold leaves) are also available commercially.

Lysimachia congestiflora

10 responses to “Lysimachia congestiflora”

  1. Nicalo Sarwar

    Incredibly detailed shot- and beautiful little flowers too. Wonderful- thank you for sharing this- it made my week!

  2. Debby

    Where would we gardeners be without some of those notoriously persistent plants? I appreciate my lysimachia punctata, which was planted by previous owners and has continued to thrive in the garden for the thirty-one years I’ve been here.
    Thank you for showing us a lysimachia we might not otherwise encounter.

  3. Mackryl

    I absolutily love this shot. The yellow seems to be the truest of golds, reminscent of the sun itself… and the greenery..oh the greenery coming out of the bark pieces ingnites the photo. Splendid indeed!

  4. Sue in Bremerton

    I just love these little yellow flowers. Yellow flowers seem, somehow, to stand out more than any other color of them. Even roses and lilacs and others of my favorites pale compared to the yellow ones. I enjoy my scotch broom with it’s very yellow blossoms in the spring time.
    We humans are truly blessed by the oddest things in life, aren’t we?

  5. Annie Morgan

    The leaves are much different from those of purple loosestrife that grows in Southern Ontario – it’s a noxious weed, actually. Is it the same type of plant? I’m afraid to use the word ‘family’ as I probably will use it incorrectly.
    Beautiful yellow flowers in the rain. Super picture.

  6. Dana

    Annie, Loosestrife can refer to both Lythrum and Lysmachia genus plants. Purple Loosestrife is usually Lythrum salicaria.

  7. elizabeth a airhart

    now that you have been to china
    where do we go next? and a book hopefully
    to be written in the near future?
    thank you looking pretty good on you tube

  8. Douglas Justice

    Annie,
    Lythrum salicaria is called purple loosestrife (and yes, it’s a serious, invasive weed), whereas Lysimachia species are called yellow loosestrife (and some of them are weeds). The fact that there are a number of weeds that people call “loosestrife” doesn’t indicate either relatedness or physical similarity. The name “loosestrife” refers to purported healing qualities (lose strife; i.e., to get better), but the two genera are not closely related. Common or regional names are as frequently misleading as they are illuminating. For example, the name “cedar” is a name that in antiquity was given to trees whose wood was fragrant. No matter that the so-called “true” cedar is a pine relative, that the “red cedar” of eastern North America is a juniper, the red cedar of western North America is an “arborvitae” and the “Spanish cedar” is a member of the mahogany family from Mexico, the West Indies and South America. So much for common names. This is one of the reasons scientists prefer to use scientific names. They may not be particularly poetic, but they are, by and large, unambiguous.

  9. Don Fenton

    CF Douglas:There is also a legendry ‘Red Cedar’ in Australia, from the [now almost non-existant] forests of north-eastern New South Wales. Furniture made from this ‘red gold’ costs a fortune. There is almost none left.

  10. The Bill Barnes

    Good job , Douglas, glad to see you leading the charge.

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