Epilobium ciliatum Raf. ssp. ciliatum

Onagraceae (Evening Primrose Family)


Willow-herb is an erect herbacious perennial with soft appressed hairs on a stem that reaches 40" tall.  The leaves are alternate, serrulate, and lanceolate, on very short stems, glabrous and with conspicuous veins, the upper ones being smaller and ± wooly.  The flowers are solitary in the leaf axils with four sepals and four petals that are deeply 2-cleft, white to pink to purplish, to 3/16" long.  There are four stamens, four long and four short, and a single pistil with a club- or head-like stigma that is either shorter than or equal to the stamens.  The fruit is a slender reddish capsule to 2-1/2" long on a 1/4" pedicel, with gland-tipped hairs aging to glabrate, containing seeds that are longitudinally-ridged and have a small tuft of silky hairs on the upper end. There are three subspecies of willow-herb in the Jepson Manual, and judging by the shape of the leaves and where it was found, I believe this to be subspecies ciliatum. Willow-herb is a fairly common member of plant communities in moist areas below 10,000' in most of cismontane and montane California, blooming from about July to October.  These pictures were taken in Santa Ynez Canyon in the Santa Monica Mts.

Click here for Latin name derivations: 1) Epilobium 2) ciliatum.
Pronunciation: ep-il-OH-bee-um sil-ee-AY-tum.
Click here for Botanical Term Meanings.


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