Information on Yellow Loosestrife

Common Name: Yellow Loosestrife
Scientific Name: Lysimachia vulgaris
Irish Name: Breallán léana
Family Group: Primulaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
Yellow Loosestrife is not easily confused with other wild plants on this web site.


Downy perennial of river-banks, lakeshores and fens, this is a most handsome plant which blooms from June to August.  Growing to about 1 metre high, it carries starry, 5-petalled, cup-shaped yellow flowers (15-20mm across) in open, pyramidal clusters on erect, woolly stems.  The sepals have orange margins which are also toothed.  The short-stalked, ovate to lanceolate leaves are opposite, in whorls of 2-4, often dotted with black.  This is a native plant and it belongs to the Primulaceae family.

I first found this plant on the shores of Lough Derg, Co Tipperary in 1983 and I re-found and photographed it on the shores of Lough Mask, Co Mayo in 2009 in conditions which were, to say the least, a little damp. In fact it was difficult to find a specimen which managed to keep its head above the water!

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Loosestrife, Yellow
Loosestrife, Yellow

The common name 'Loosestrife' derives from the erstwhile practice of using the plant to prevent insects from tormenting oxen at the plough.  The plant was entwined in their harnesses as it seemed it had properties which drove gnats and flies away.  It was also used to rid dwellings of said insects by burning – the plant, not the dwellings – the smoke being the transporter of this insect repellent.