Northern willowherb

Epilobium ciliatum Raf.

Life cycle

Erect summer annual.

Northern willowherb plant
Northern willowherb plant.


Opposite, lance-shaped to narrow oval leaves with pointed tips and shallowly toothed margins initially form leafy basal rosettes. Leaves are hairy with sunken veins and often have purple shading along the margins. Lower leaves have short stalks; upper leaves may have short stalks or are stalkless.


Hairy, rounded and erect.

Flowers and fruit

White to pink or purple flowers with four notched petals are found at the ends of long, slender capsules in the upper leaf axils. Fruit are long, slender, hairy capsules that split at maturity, releasing numerous tiny seeds. Each seed has a tuft of white hair.

Northern willowherb flower & fruit Northern willowherb flower
Northern willowherb flowering stem (left), and flower (right).



Northern willowherb seeds
Mature capsule and seeds of northern willowherb.

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