Tall and slender with delicate purple flowers, the purple loosestrife is among the most threatening invasive species in Kansas.
On Aug. 13, the Grassland Heritage Foundation will host its annual purple loosestrife eradication day. From 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., volunteers will dig the invasive species out of the Kanza Southwind Nature Preserve, 2900 Wildflower Drive.
Last year, volunteers filled 40 lawn bags with the plant, which was growing in a drainage area at the intersection of Clinton Parkway and Atchinson Avenue.
While fewer plants are expected to be found at this year’s location, the organization thinks that if the plants remain they will likely spread to a nearby pond and engulf it within a couple of years.
On the state’s quarantine list for invasive species, the purple loosestrife spreads easily and can quickly overtake ponds, streams and other wetlands, crowding out native plants.
At one time, the purple loosestrife was a popular ornamental plant and sold in nurseries and garden centers.
In 2002, the Kansas Department of Agriculture made it illegal to sell the plant in the state. Despite the ban, many plants are still in public spaces and private gardens.
Those who volunteer on Aug. 13 are encouraged to bring shovels, trowels and water and to wear gloves and sturdy shoes that can get wet.
To RSVP, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. More information can be found on the Grassland Heritage Foundation’s Facebook page.