Herbs with opposite or alternate leaves, and often showy flowers, which are usually regular, 4-merous or 2-merous. Calyx-lobes 2 or 4, valvate in bud. Petals 2 or 4. Stamens 2-8. Ovary 2-6 celled, when many-seeded with axillary placentation.

A considerable family, ranging over the whole world, but in the greatest variety in N. America.

Epilobium L. Willow-Herb

Herbs mostly erect, with annual flowering stems and creeping stolons. Flowers axillary or in terminal spikes. Calyx-tube long, slender, with 4-partite limb. Petals 4. Stamens 8. Ovary 4-celled. Stigma 4-lobed. Seeds tipped with a tuft of long hairs.

This genus is diffused over nearly the whole world, from the extreme Arctic regions to the tropics.

Epilobium Alpinum L

Allied to E. alsinefolium, but much smaller in its leaves, flowers and stature. Stem 2-6 inches high, erect, or ascending from a creeping base, simple, 2-sided from 2 downy lines running down from the margins of the leaves, otherwise glabrous, like the leaves. Leaves obtuse, entire, or with a few small teeth. Upper leaves lanceolate, alternate. Flowers small, rose-coloured in the axils of the uppermost leaves. Stigma club-shaped. Capsule glabrous, with a few scattered hairs.

Damp, sandy places by springs and streams in the Alps and lower Alps up to 8600 feet. July, August.


Mountains of Europe, including the Arctic regions, N. America, Central and Northern Asia. British.

Epilobium Angustifolium L. Rose-Bay. (Plate XXIII)

A handsome plant, 2-4 feet high, simple or slightly branched, glabrous or somewhat hoary. Rootstock creeping, and hence and also to the numerous light seeds carried by the wind, this plant is rapidly increasing in Europe. Leaves lanceolate, very shortly stalked, finely toothed or entire. Flowers large, purplish rose, or very rarely pale pink or flesh-coloured, in long terminal racemes. Pod 1-2 inches long, slightly hoary. Stigma deeply 4-lobed.

Banks, woods and hillsides from the plains up to 5000 feet in Switzerland. June, July.


Mountains of Central Europe and Asia, and the plains of Northern Europe, and in Norway nearly to the birch limit; Northern Asia and N. America. British. It appears frequently in waste places, and has lately established itself on waste ground in central London.

Epilobium Fleischeri Hochst. (Plate XXIII)

Sometimes considered a dwarf Alpine variety of E. rosmarini-folium Haenke =. Dodoncei Vill. Stem ascending from a creeping and woody base. Leaves linear or narrowly lanceolate, the same colour on both sides, glabrous, not veined. Flowers large and handsome, bright rose-purple. Style hairy up to above the middle, half as long as stamens. A cymose panicle of few flowers. Somewhat variable. Calyx usually dark carmine.

Moraines and sandy, stony places by mountain torrents in the Alps and sub-Alps, especially on primary formations and siliceous rocks; local, and not often seen above 7000 feet. July, August.


Eastern, Central and Western Alps; rare in the Jura. Transylvania.

Ciroea L. Circaea Alpina L

A small, delicate green and glabrous plant resembling the common Enchanter's Night-shade, but smaller in all its parts. Seldom more than 6 inches high. Leaves very thin, and often glossy; the capsules smaller, less hairy, and much narrower than in the common species.

Damp, shady, and stony places and mountain woods, up to 6000 feet. June to August.


Jura, Alps, Vosges, Cevennes, Pyrenees, Corsica; Europe from Scandinavia to the Caucasus; Northern Asia, N. America. British.