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Yellow pimpernel.jpg
Yellow pimpernel, Lysimachia nemorum
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Primulaceae
Subfamily: Myrsinoideae
Genus: Lysimachia
  • Centunculus L.
  • Naumburgia Moench

Lysimachia (/ˌlsɪˈmkiə/[1]) is a genus consisting of 193 accepted species of flowering plants traditionally classified in the family Primulaceae.[2] Based on a molecular phylogenetic study it was transferred to the family Myrsinaceae,[3] before this family was later merged into the Primulaceae.[4]


Lysimachia species often have yellow flowers, and grow vigorously. They tend to grow in damp conditions. Several species within Lysimachia are commonly called loosestrife, although this name is also used for plants within the genus Lythrum. The genus is named in honor of Lysimachus, a king of ancient Sicily, who is said to have calmed a mad ox by feeding it a member of the genus.[5]

Lysimachia species are used as food plants by the larvae of some butterflies and moths, including the dot moth, grey pug, lime-speck pug, small angle shades, and v-pug.

Specialized pollinators[edit]

Bees of the genus Macropis are specialized to pollinate oil-producing Lysimachia plants. These bees use exclusively Lysimachia floral oils for building their nests and provisioning cells. Lysimachia floral-specific chemicals are strong attractors for Macropis nuda and Macropis fulvipes bees that are seldom found in other plant genera.[6]

Spotted Loosestrife (Lysimachia punctata)

Fossil record[edit]

Several fossil seeds of Lysimachia sp. have been described from middle Miocene strata of the Fasterholt area near Silkeborg in Central Jutland, Denmark.[7]Lysimachia nikitinii seed fossils have been collected from Pliocene strata of south eastern Belarus. The fossils are most similar to seeds of the East Asian Lysimachia davurica.[8]

Selected species[edit]

Fringed Loosestrife (Lysimachia ciliata)
Starflower (Lysimachia borealis)


  1. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
  2. ^ "The Plant List, Lysimachia".
  3. ^ M. Källersjö, G. Bergqvist & A. A. Anderberg (2000). "Generic realignment in primuloid families of the Ericales s. l.: a phylogenetic analysis based on DNA sequences from three chloroplast genes and morphology". American Journal of Botany. American Journal of Botany, Vol. 87, No. 9. 87 (9): 1325–1341. doi:10.2307/2656725. JSTOR 2656725. PMID 10991903.
  4. ^ Angiosperm Phylogeny Group III (2009). "An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG III". Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 161 (2): 105–121. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.2009.00996.x.
  5. ^ Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Native Plant Information Network (NPIN)
  6. ^ Schäffler; Dötterl (February 2007). "Flower Scent of Floral Oil-Producing Lysimachia punctata as Attractant for the Oil-Bee Macropis fulvipes". Journal of Chemical Ecology. 33: 441–5. doi:10.1007/s10886-006-9237-2. PMID 17151908.
  7. ^ Angiosperm Fruits and Seeds from the Middle Miocene of Jutland (Denmark) by Else Marie Friis, The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters 24:3, 1985
  8. ^ The Pliocene flora of Kholmech, south-eastern Belarus and its correlation with other Pliocene floras of Europe by Felix Yu. VELICHKEVICH and Ewa ZASTAWNIAK - Acta Palaeobotanica 43(2): 137–259, 2003

External links[edit]