Lysimachia L.

(incl. Anagallis L., Centunculus L., Glaux L., Trientalis L.)

In its traditional circumscription Lysimachia was a genus with ca. 150 species in the temperate regions of both the Old and New World (Mabberley 2008). Its center of diversity obviously lies in East Asia (especially China, where more than 130 species occur; Jia 2003). Molecular data, however, suggest a much broader circumscription of the genus (e.g. Hao & al. 2004, Anderberg & al. 2007, Manns & Anderberg 2009) and this changed taxonomic framework is followed by most recent authors (e.g. Tison & de Foucault 2014). After inclusion of several small segregate genera like Anagallis L., Centunculus L., Glaux L., and Trientalis L. it counts ca. 175 species. In Belgium Lysimachia in its expanded circumscription includes several native species: L. arvensis (L.) U.Manns & Anderb. (syn.: Anagallis arvensis L.), L. europaea (L.) U.Manns & Anderb. (syn.: Trientalis europaea L.), L. maritimus (L.) Galasso, Banfi & Soldano (syn.: Glaux maritima L.), L. minima (L.) U.Manns & Anderb. (syn.: Centunculus minimus L.), L. nemorum L., L. nummularia L., L. tenella L. (syn.: Anagallis tenella (L.) L.), L. thyrsiflora L. and L. vulgaris L. (Lambinon & Verloove 2012). Several species of Lysimachia are cultivated as ornamentals (e.g. Ingram 1960, Mitchem 1997, Tebbitt 1997, Jäger & al. 2008) and some have been recorded as escapes in Belgium. In addition to the species treated in this account, some additional ones are probably worth mentioning. Several white-flowered species from a taxonomically complex group (including, among others, L. barystachys Bunge, L. clethroides Duby and L. fortunei Maxim.) are increasingly grown as ornamentals or are sometimes deliberately planted in the wild (e.g. L. clethroides by a fish pond in an abandoned clay pit in Ploegsteert). Lysimachia congestiflora Hemsl. is much cultivated in hanging baskets and might also occur as an escape in urban habitats. It has creeping stems with densely hairy leaves and flowers that are densely clustered at apex. Finally, Lysimachia japonica Thunb., also cultivated as an ornamental and known as an escape in North America (Cholewa 2009), is similar to native L. nummularia but has pubescent stems and smaller corollas. It is a weedy species that should be looked for (see also Terzioğlu & Karaer 2009).

Additional alien: Lysimachia linum-stellatum L. (syn.: Asterolinon linum-stellatum (L.) Duby) (Medit., Atl. Isl., unknown vector).

1       Corolla yellow === 2

         Corolla white, pink, orange-red, bluish or corolla (nearly) absent, never yellow === 6

2       Stem procumbent. Flowers solitary in the leaf axils (native) === Lysimachia nemorum and L. nummularia

         Stem erect. Flowers several to many in (axillary or terminal) racemes or panicles, rarely solitary === 3

3       Corolla 4-6 mm, with linear petals (native) === L. thyrsiflora

         Corolla 9-16 mm, petals never linear === 4

4       Leaves glabrous (except ciliate petiole). Flowers solitary in leaf axils === L. ciliata

         Leaves pubescent. Flowers in racemes or panicles, not solitary === 5

5       Calyx lobes with brown-orange margin. Inflorescence paniculate. Petals glabrous at margin (native) === L. vulgaris

         Calyx lobes entirely green. Inflorescence whorled, flowers in leaf axils, sessile or pedicelled. Petals with ciliate margins === L. punctata

6       Corolla absent or petals shorter than sepals (native) === L. maritima and L. minima

         Corolla distinct, with petals longer than sepals === 7

7       Stem leaves whorled or alternate. Corolla white === 8

         Stem leaves all opposite. Corolla (pale) pink, orange-red or bluish === 9

8       Stem with one distinct whorl of 5-7 leaves, often with some additional much reduced leaves elsewhere up the stem. Corolla lobes usually 6-7 in number. Flowers 1-2 on long pedicels in axils of upper leaves (native) === L. europaea

         Stem leaves alternate. Corolla lobes 5 in number. Flowers numerous on very short pedicels in a terminal raceme === L. fortunei

9       Stem procumbent, rooting at nodes. Corolla (pale) pink (native) === L. tenella

         Stem decumbent to ascending, never rooting at nodes. Corolla orange-red or bluish === 10

10       Petals more than 6 mm long. Perennial with sterile shoots present. Corolla always bluish === L. monelli

         Petals less than 6 mm long; Annual, without sterile shoots. Corolla orange-red or bluish (native) === L. arvensis (incl. L. foemina)


Anderberg A.A., Manns U. & Källersjö M. (2007) Phylogeny and floral evolution of the Lysimachieae (Ericales, Myrsinaceae): evidence from ndhF sequence data. Willdenowia 37: 407-421. [available online at:]

Bennell A.P. & Hu C.-M. (1983) The pollen morphology and taxonomy of Lysimachia. Notes Roy. Bot. Gard. Edinburgh 40: 425-458.

Cholewa A.F. (2009) Lysimachia. In: Flora of North America Editorial Committee (ed.), Flora of North America, vol. 8: 302-309. Oxford University Press, New York-Oxford. [available online at:]

Hao G., Yuan Y.M., Hu C.M., Ge X.J. & Zhao N.X. (2004) Molecular phylogeny of Lysimachia (Myrsinaceae) based on chloroplast trnL-F and nuclear ribosomal ITS sequences. Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 31(1): 323-339.

Handel-Mazzetti J. (1928) A revision of the Chinese species of Lysimachia, with a new system of the whole genus. Notes Roy. Bot. Gard. Edinburgh 16: 51-121.

Heubl G.R. (1989) Bemerkungen zur Karyologie der Gattung Lysimachia L. Chromosomenzahlen und evolution. Mitt. Bot. Staatssamml. München 28: 297-311.

Ingram J. (1960) Notes on the cultivated Primulaceae. 1. Lysimachia. Baileya 8: 84-97.

Jäger E.J., Ebel F., Hanelt P. & Müller G. (eds.) (2008) Rothmaler Band 5. Exkursionsflora von Deutschland. Krautige Zier- und Nutzpflanzen. Springer Verlag, Berlin: 880 p.

Jia X. (2003) Lysimachia L. In: Wu Z.Y. & Raven P.H. (eds.), Flora of China, vol. 15: 39-189. Science Press, Beijing, and Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis. Available online at:]

Kodela P.G. (2006) Lysimachia (Myrsinaceae) in New South Wales. Telopea 11(2): 147-154. [available online at:]

Lambinon J. & Verloove F. (avec coll. Delvosalle L., Toussaint B., Geerinck D., Hoste I., Van Rossum F., Cornier B., Schumacker R., Vanderpoorten A. & Vannerom H.) (2012) Nouvelle Flore de la Belgique, du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, du Nord de la France et des Régions voisines (Ptéridophytes et Spermatophytes). Sixième édition. Jardin botanique national de Belgique, Meise: CXXXIX + 1195 p.

Leblebici E. (1978) Lysimachia. In: Davis P.H. (ed.), Flora of Turkey and the East Aegean Islands, vol. 6: 135-138. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Mabberley D.J. (2008) Mabberley’s plant-book (3th ed.). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: XVIII + 1021 p.

Manns U. & Anderberg A.A. (2009) New combinations and names in Lysimachia (Myrsinaceae) for species of Anagallis, Pelletiera and Trientalis. Willdenowia 39(1): 49-54. [available online at:]

Marr K.L. & Bohm B.A. (1997) A taxonomic revision of the endemic Hawaiian Lysimachia (Primulaceae) including three new species. Pac. Sci. 51(3): 254-287.

Martinoli G. (1959) Tassonomia ed ecologia delle specie del genere Anagallis della Sardegna. Webbia 15: 1-45.

Mitchem C.M. (1997) Lysimachia. In: Cullen J. & al. (eds.), The European Garden Flora, vol. 5. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 555-557.

Ray J.D. (1956) The genus Lysimachia in the New World. Illinois Biological Monographs 24: 188 p.

Shteinberg E.A. (1967) Lysimachia. In: Komarov V.L. (ed.), Flora of the USSR, vol. 18: 83-215. Jerusalem: Israel Program for Scientific Translation.

Stace C.A. (2010) Classification by molecules : What’s in it for field botanists ? Watsonia 28(2): 103-122. [available online at:]

Tebbitt M.C. (1997) Anagallis. In: Cullen J. & al. (eds.), The European Garden Flora, vol. 5. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 558.

Terzioğlu S. & Karaer F. (2009) An Alien Species New to the Flora of Turkey: Lysimachia japonica Thunb. (Primulaceae). Turk. J. Bot. 33: 123-126. [available online at:]

Tison J.-M. & de Foucault B. (coord.) 2014) Flora Gallica. Flore de France. Editions Biotope, Mèze : xx + 1196 p.

Taxonomic name: 
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith