Practical ecological knowledge for the temperate reader.

Lysimachia nummularia - Creeping Loosestrife


Medicinal Uses


General Prostrate, creeping [PCBC2004] "growing to 0.2 m (0ft 8in) by 0.6 m (2ft) at a fast rate."[PFAF]
Lifecycle "evergreen Perennial".[PFAF]
Flowers "yellow flowers that are single or in pairs in the leafaxils." [PCBC2004] "corollas yellow, saucer-shaped, deeply 5-lobed...fringed with small, glandular hairs. [IFBC][E-flora] "The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies....The plant is self-fertile." [PFAF]
Fruits Capsules.[IFCB][E-flora]
Leaves "round to oval[PCBC2004] "12.5 mm. or more long" [HNW]
Stem Several, dotted with red-black spots. [IFBC][E-flora] Leafy, slender and "forming conspicuous green mats."[HNW] Stem leaves opposite, with short stalks. [IFBC][E-flora]
Root Rhizome.[E-flora]
Habitat "Damp situations in pastures and by the sides of streams, avoiding acid soils[4, 9]." [PFAF] moist places. [HNW]
Range "Europe, including Britain, from Sweden south and east to Spain, N. Greece and the Caucasus." [PFAF] Southwestern B.C. [PCBC2004] Sparingly introduced. Willamette and Columbia River bottom lands. [HNW] "Moist roadsides and other disturbed areas in the lowland and steppe zones; infrequent on Vancouver Island and the Fraser Valley; rare in SC BC; introduced from Europe." [IFBC] [E-flora] Introduced to Japan.[PDR] The plant photographed on this page (see above) was found in Tofino, B.C. [Personal observation]
Status Exotic. [IFBC] [E-flora]


Medicinal Part(s): Fresh or dried whole flowering plant, including the root.[PDR]


The whole herb, used fresh or dried;

  • Antacid [HMH Duke]
  • Antibacterial [HMH Duke]
  • Antipyretic [HMH Duke]
  • Antiscorbutic [PFAF]
  • Antiseptic [HMH Duke]
  • Antisialagogue [HMH Duke]
  • Astringent [HMH Duke]
  • Diuretic [PFAF]
  • Expectorant [PDR][HMH Duke]
  • Hemolytic [HMH Duke]
  • Mildly astringent [PFAF]
  • Vulnerary [PFAF][HMH Duke]

Antioxidant: "The in vitro radical scavenging activities of the plant extracts [L. vulgaris, L. nummularia & L. punctata] were tested.... Our studies proved that L. nummularia extract had the most significant activity."[Toth et al.]

"Extracts of the aerial plant parts are said to be antibacterial in vitro..."[PDR]


"The main flavonoids in L. nummularia and L. vulgaris were identified as myricetin- and myricetin- quercetin-, and kaempferol-glyosides respectively". [Toth et al.][PDR]"The quantitative analytical measurements revealed that the total flavonoid content expressed in hyperoside of L. vulgaris was significantly lower than of the samples of L. nummularia, and L. punctata, but its hydroxycinnamic acid content was outstanding. The accumulation of polyphenols and tannins showed to be homogeneous among the samples."[Toth et al.]


Flavonol glycosides

  • isoquercitrin (whole planet)[Yasukawa]
  • kaempferol 3-O-(2,6-dirhamnosylgalactoside) (whole planet)[Yasukawa]
  • Kaempferol 3-O-rhamnosyl (1 → 2) galactoside (whole planet)[Yasukawa]
  • mearnsitrin (whole planet)[Yasukawa]
  • myricetin 3-O-arabinofuranoside (whole planet)[Yasukawa]
  • myricitrin (whole planet)[Yasukawa]
  • quercetin 3-O-(2,6-dirhamnosylgalactoside) (whole planet)[Yasukawa]
  • quercetin 3-O-neohesperidioside (whole planet)[Yasukawa] '
  • rutin (whole planet)[Yasukawa] [PDR]
  • syringetin 3-galactoside (whole planet)[Yasukawa]
  • syringetin 3-O-xylopyranoside (whole planet)[Yasukawa]
  • trifolin (whole planet)[Yasukawa]

Tannins [PDR]

Triterpene saponins [PDR]


"An easily grown plant, succeeding in a moist loamy soil[1]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Grows well in marshy soil and in shallow water in pond margins[24, 56]. Prefers a shady position[111] but also succeeds in full sun[188]. Plants are hardy to at least -25°c[187]. Most species in this genus seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[233]. A very ornamental plant[1]. Special Features:Attractive foliage, Invasive, Naturalizing, Fragrant flowers, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms."[PFAF]

Groundcover: "Can be used as a ground cover plant in moist soils but requires weeding for the first year or so. Plants should be spaced about 60cm apart each way and form a carpet, rooting as they spread[208]."[PFAF]


"Seed - sow spring or autumn in a cold frame[200]. This species rarely produces seed in Britain[17]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Division in spring or autumn[200]. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring."[PFAF]

Lysimachia Sp.

"Lysimachia is a large, virtually cosmopolitan genus that reaches its greatest diversity in temperate Eurasia (especially eastern Asia)." [VFBC-E-flora]

"Perennial, rhizomatous herbs, sometimes succulent. Stems ascending to erect or sometimes decumbent, simple or branched. Leaves all cauline, opposite or whorled (sometimes becoming alternate above), entire, simple, sessile to petiolate, ovate or oblong to linear-lanceolate. Inflorescences terminal and/or axillary racemes, or flowers axillary (solitary to several per axil); often bracteate. Flowers sessile to pedicellate; corollas usually present (absent in L. maritima), yellow, deeply 5- (9-) lobed, yellow (often with reddish speckling or markings), lobes linear-lanceolate to ovate; calyces green to pinkish or whitish, deeply 5- (9-) lobed, lobes exceeding the tube; stamens 5, included or exserted; filaments distinct or connate at the base. Fruits globose capsules, 5-valvate; seeds 1-20. About 150 spp. (6 spp. in B.C.). Nearly worldwide." [VFBC-E-flora]

Local Species;

  1. Lysimachia arvensis - Scarlet Pimperel [E-flora]
  2. Lysimachia minima - Chaffweed [E-flora]
  3. Lysimachia nummularia - creeping jenny [E-flora][PCBC]
  4. Lysimachia punctata - spotted loosestrife [E-flora]
  5. Lysimachia terrestris - bog loosestrife [E-flora]
  6. Lysimachia thyrsiflora- tufted loosestrife [E-flora][PCBC][TSFTK]
  7. Lysimachia vulgaris - yellow loosestrife [E-flora]

Lysimachia arvensis - Scarlet Pimperel

Synonyms: Anagallis arvensis subsp. arvensis L. [E-flora]

Status: Exotic [E-flora]




"The seeds are slightly poisonous to some mammals, but no cases involving people are known[13, 76]. Skin contact with the plant can cause dermatitis in some people[76]." [PFAF-2] "

Food Use

Medicinal Use

The scarlet pimpernel was at one time highly regarded as a medicinal herb, especially in the treatment of epilepsy and mental problems[254], but there is little evidence to support its efficacy and it is no longer recommended for internal use because it contains toxic saponins and cytotoxic cucurbitacins[238, 254]. The whole herb is antitussive, cholagogue, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, nervine, purgative, stimulant and vulnerary[4, 7, 9, 21, 46]. It can be taken internally or applied externally as a poultice[7]. An infusion is used in the treatment of dropsy, skin infections and disorders of the liver and gall bladder[9, 272]. The plant is best harvested in June and can be dried for later use[4]. Use with caution[21], large doses can cause polyuria and tremor[7].

Other Use



"The aqueous extract of the dried leaves is fungitoxic... Aqueous extracts showed uterine contracting activity in rats, guinea pigs, rabbits, and on strips of human uterine material. The triterpene saponins isolated from the drug demonstrated action against human sperm. The methanol extract of the drug demonstrated estrogen activity in the Allen-Doisy test. The saponins isolated from the powdered drug with ethanol demonstrated hemolytic activity in human blood. The methanol extract of the dried powdered drug is antiviral against Herpes simplex Type I, Adenovirus Type II and Polio Type II, among others. The saponins are the active constituents. The acetyl-saponin isolated from the drug acts as a teniacide". [PDR]

"Alterative Steinmetz; Antidote Eb28: 329; Bite(Dog) Eb28: 329; Brain Al-Rawi, Broun, Woi.Syria; Cancer Hartwell; Canicide Al-Rawi; Cirrhosis Uphof; Depurative Steinmetz; Diaphoretic Uphof; Diuretic Steinmetz, Takeda, Uphof; Dropsy Broun; Expectorant FontQuer, Steinmetz; Fungicide Eb24: 283; Gall-Stone Uphof; Hirudicide Al-Rawi; Insecticide Eb24: 283; Leprosy Broun; Lung Uphof; Nematicide Eb24: 283; Nervine Steinmetz; Piscicide Al-Rawi, Eb24: 135, Woi.Syria; Poison* Lewis, Al-Rawi, Steinmetz, Woi.Syria; Poison(Dog) Broun; Rabies Broun, Eb28: 329; Repellant(Leech) Woi.Syria; Sore Al-Rawi; Splinter Eb28: 329; Sudorific Steinmetz" [Duke]


Lysimachia minima - Chaffweed

Synonyms: Anagallis minima [E-flora]

Habitat / Range


Lysimachia punctata - Spotted loosestrife

Synonyms: Lysimachia punctata var. verticillata (M. Bieb.) Klatt [E-flora]



Lysimachia terrestris - bog loosestrife



Lysimachia thyrsiflora- tufted loosestrife

Medicinal Use

Lysimachia vulgaris - Yellow loosestrife


Lysimachia Sp.; 28 of 50 species used medicinally for "Invigorating blood circulation and eliminating blood stasis; asthmolytic; for menstrual disorders". [Houghton EHMP]

Lysimachia nemorum Linnaeus yellow pimpernel; "The flowers of Lysimachia nemorum have been boiled in Cavan as a cure for gallstones." [MPFT]

Lysimachia Quadrifolia Crosswort (Yellow Balm, Four-leaved Loosestrife), The Whole Herb; Astringent, Sto, A-per. Coughs and Colds, tea as expectorant. Used for indigestion and catarrh of the stomach. Stops internal/external bleeding. Antimalarial. [Deschauer-2] Decoction of root taken for bowel/urinary trouble and kidney problems. Infusion of roots taken for "female trouble" or as an emetic.[Moerman NAEth]


Page last modified on Friday, December 3, 2021 12:24 PM