The presence of Lysimachia quadriflora in New York was first publishing in the Flora of New York by John Torrey in 1843. It has never been found in any other place in the state besides the shores of Lake Erie in Buffalo and the Niagara River.
There are two existing populations. One population has over 1000 plants and the second one is small and has not been seen since 2000. There are five historical populations from the Niagara River and Lake Erie shoreline from the late 1800s to 1942. These are probably extirpated.
One population has not been seen since the year 2000 so the populations may be declining although more study of the seed bank is needed to confirm this.
This species has always been rare in New York but those populations in the Niagara River have decreased substantially. A new large population was found in 1990 in Erie County.
The plants may be subject to scouring during ice jams and turbulent waters during periods of high water. Trampling from tourists may reduce the seed bank by crushing the plants before they are able to set seed. Succession is also a threat if disturbance is eliminated from the area.
Limit public access to the area of the plants but at the same time remove trees and shrubs to limit succession.
Research is needed to find the the best management practices to preserve the population at Niagara Falls.
All the known New York populations of this species were found in wet, calcareous habitats, including graminoid fens and dolomite riverside outcrops (NYNHP 2013). Moist prairies, meadows, roadsides, springs, swamps, bogs, other wetlands (FNA 2010). Fens, wet prairies, and calcareous marshy shores (Voss 1996). Moist or wet soil, especially on prairies (Gleason and Cronquist 1991). Calcareous bogs, swales, and shores (Fernald 1950).
In New York Lysimachia quadriflora is known only from Erie and Niagara counties.
Western New York marks the northeastern limit of Lysimachia quadriflora's range, which extends west to Ontario and Manitoba, and south from Georgia to Oklahoma.
Lysimachia quadriflora is an erect, rhizomatous, perennial forb with 4-angled stems that grows (12-) 20 cm to 1 m tall. The leaves are opposite, entire, stiff, linear to narrowly lanceolate, and have revolute margins. They are 3.4 to 9 cm long by 0.2 to 0.6 cm wide, with 0.1 to 0.8 mm cilia at the leaf base near the nodes and have only one apparent vein. The flowers are borne singly or in whorls from the axils of the upper stem, on pedicels 0.5 to 2.8 cm long. The flowers are 5-parted with yellow petals that are sparsely streaked with brownish-violet (this is sometimes obscure) resin canals, and are 7 to 13 mm long and pointed, with stalked glands on their upper surfaces. The fruits are capsules 3.5 to 5 mm long and are typically glabrous (rarely with sparse stalked glands). (FNA 2010)
Lysimachia quadriflora is an erect, smooth and hairless (glabrous), rhizomatous, perennial forb with 4-angled stems that grows (12-) 20 cm to 1 m tall. The leaves are opposite, entire, stiff, linear to narrowly lanceolate, and those on the stem are stalkless. They are 3.4 to 9 cm long by 0.2 to 0.6 cm wide, with 0.1 to 0.8 mm cilia at the leaf base near the nodes and have only one apparent vein. The flowers are borne singly or in whorls from the axils of the upper stem, on pedicels 0.5 to 2.8 cm long. The flowers are 5-parted with yellow petals (corolla) that are sparsely streaked with brownish-violet (this is sometimes obscure) resin canals, circular and flatted, 7 to 13 mm long and pointed, with stalked glands (stipitate-glandular) on the upper petal surface. The fruits are capsules 3.5 to 5 mm long, lack dots or spots (not punctuate) and are typically glabrous (rarely with sparse stalked glands). (FNA 2010)
For positive identification of Lysimachia quadriflora the entire stem with intact mature flowers is best.
A number of similar Lysimachia species occur in New York. Most differ from L. quadriflora by having punctate (minutely dotted) leaves. L. ciliata and L. hybrida have leaves that are not punctate, but they are typically broader with more evident lateral veins, and not revolute as are L. quadriflora's leaves (Haines 2011).
Hypericum canadense (Canada St John's wort) also may appear similar to L. quadiflora but can be distinguished by its numerous small flowers (3.2 to 6.3 mm wide), and shorter leaves (1.3 cm to 3.8 cm) with 1 to 3 veins.
Flowering typically begins in mid-June and continues through late July. Fruiting typically occurs beginning in mid-July with fruits persisting until late October.
The time of year you would expect to find Four-flowered Loosestrife vegetative, flowering, and fruiting in New York.
Lysimachia quadriflora Sims
Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2010. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Vol. 08. Magnoliophyta: Paeoniaceae to Ericaceae. Oxford Univ. Press, New York. xxiv + 585 pp.
Fernald, M.L. 1950. Gray's manual of botany. 8th edition. D. Van Nostrand, New York. 1632 pp.
Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York. 910 pp.
Haines, A. 2011. Flora Novae Angliae: A manual for the identification of native and naturalized higher vascular plants of New England. New England Wildflower Society, Yale University Press. New Haven and London.
Holmgren, Noel. 1998. The Illustrated Companion to Gleason and Cronquist's Manual. Illustrations of the Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.
Mitchell, Richard S. and Gordon C. Tucker. 1997. Revised Checklist of New York State Plants. Contributions to a Flora of New York State. Checklist IV. Bulletin No. 490. New York State Museum. Albany, NY. 400 pp.
New York Natural Heritage Program. 2020. New York Natural Heritage Program Databases. Albany, NY.
Voss, E.G. 1996. Michigan Flora. Part III. Dicots (Pyrolaceae-Compositae). Cranbrook Institute of Science Bulletin 61 and Univ. Michigan Herbarium. Ann Arbor, Michigan. 622 pp.
Weldy, T. and D. Werier. 2010. New York flora atlas. [S.M. Landry, K.N. Campbell, and L.D. Mabe (original application development), Florida Center for Community Design and Research http://www.fccdr.usf.edu/. University of South Florida http://www.usf.edu/]. New York Flora Association http://newyork.plantatlas.usf.edu/, Albany, New York
This guide was authored by: Stephen M. Young, Elizabeth Spencer, Richard M. Ring.
Information for this guide was last updated on: April 2, 2013
Please cite this page as:
New York Natural Heritage Program. 2020. Online Conservation Guide for Lysimachia quadriflora. Available from: https://guides.nynhp.org/four-flowered-loosestrife/. Accessed January 20, 2020.