Epilobium hirsutum

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Epilobium hirsutum
Epilobium hirsutum jfg.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Myrtales
Family: Onagraceae
Genus: Epilobium
Species: E. hirsutum
Binomial name
Epilobium hirsutum
L.

Epilobium hirsutum is a flowering plant belonging to the willowherb genus Epilobium in the family Onagraceae. It is commonly known as the great willowherb, great hairy willowherb or hairy willowherb. Local names include codlins-and-cream, apple-pie and cherry-pie.

Close-up of the flowers

Description[edit]

It is a tall, perennial plant, reaching up to 2 metres in height. The robust stems are branched and have numerous hairs.[1] The hairy leaves are 2–12 cm long and 0.5-3.5 cm wide. They are long and thin and are widest below the middle. They have sharply toothed edges and no stalk. The large flowers have four notched petals. These are purple-pink and are usually 10–16 mm long. The stigma is white and has four lobes. The sepals are green.

Distribution[edit]

The native range of the species includes most of Europe, North Africa and parts of Asia. It is absent from much of Scandinavia and north-west Scotland. It has been introduced to North America and Australia. It typically grows in wet or damp habitats without dense tree-cover up to 2,500 metres above sea-level. Common habitats include marshland, ditches and the banks of rivers and streams. It flowers from June to September, with a peak in July and August. The flowers are normally pollinated by bees and hoverflies. A number of insects feed on the leaves including the elephant hawkmoth, Deilephila elpenor.

Ecology[edit]

Damp and waste places, river-sides and ditches.[2]

Epilobium hirsutum seed heads

References[edit]

  1. ^ Martin, K. 1965. The New Concise British Flora in Colour; with nomenclature edited and revised by Douglas H. Kent and foreword by The Duke of Edinburgh. London: Book Club Associates by arrangement with Ebury Press/ Michael Joseph (1982)
  2. ^ Webb, D,A., Parnell, J. and Doogue, D. 1996. An Irish Flora. Dundalgan Press (W.Tempest) Ltd. Dundalk. ISBN 85221-131-7
  • Blamey, Marjorie & Grey-Wilson, Christopher (2003) Cassell's Wild Flowers of Britain and Northern Europe, Cassell, London.
  • Press, J. R.; Sutton, D. A. & Tebbs, B. M. (1981) Field Guide to the Wild Flowers of Britain, Readers Digest, London.
  • Tutin, T. G. et al. (1968) Flora Europaea, Volume 2. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-06662-X
  • Washington State Department of Ecology (2006) Non-native Freshwater Plants: Hairy Willow-Herb. Accessed 25/10/07.