Sub-category: Lythraceae family
A herbaceous perennial plant, that can grow 1 to 2 m tall, forming clonal colonies 1.5 m or more in width with numerous erect stems growing from a single woody root mass. The stems are reddish-purple or red to purple and square in cross-section. The leaves are lanceolate, 3 to 10 cm long and 5 to 15 mm broad, downy and sessile, and arranged opposite or in whorls of three. The flowers are reddish purple, 10 to 20 mm diameter, with six petals (occasionally five) and 12 stamens, and are clustered tightly in the axils of bracts or leaves; there are three different flower types, with the stamens and style of different lengths, short, medium or long; each flower type can only be pollinated by one of the other types, not the same type, thus ensuring cross-pollination between different plants. The fruit is a small 3 to 4 mm capsule containing numerous minute seeds.
Found in ditches, wet meadows and marshes and along sides of lakes. Flowering lasts throughout the summer.