E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Epilobium ciliatum Raf.
purple-leaved willowherb (fringed willowherb)
Onagraceae (Evening Primrose family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Ryan Batten  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #23837)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Epilobium ciliatum
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Species Information

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Perennial herb, from basal rosettes or fleshy bulblets, lacking rhizomes; stems 15-150 cm tall, simple or branched, generally finely stiff-hairy in lines or spreading-hairy.
Opposite, or alternate above, lance- or lance egg-shaped, 1-15 cm long, finely sharp-toothed to almost entire, veins distinct; stalks 0-8 mm long.
Inflorescence a terminal, leafy-bracted panicle or raceme, finely stiff-hairy, with some spreading and glandular hairs; hypanthium 0.5-2.6 mm long; petals 2-14 mm long, rose-purple to white, notched at tip; sepals 2-7.5 mm long, often reddish; stamens less than or equal to length of pistil; stigmas club- or head-shaped.
Capsules, 1.5-10 cm long, hairy; stalks 0-30 mm long; seeds 0.8-1.9 mm long, longitudinally grooved, tuft of hairs white, 2-8 mm long, readily detaching.
Three subspecies occur in BC:

1. Stem leaves relatively narrow and not crowded around inflorescences; plants usually branched above; petals white to pale pink or purple.................. ssp. ciliatum

1. Stem leaves broad and often crowded around inflorescences; plants usually unbranched above; petals dark purple.

2. Underground scales or buds present; inflorescences loose, extended...................... ssp. glandulosum (Lehm.) Hoch & Raven

2. Underground scales or buds absent; inflorescences more or less flat-topped...................... ssp. watsonii (Barbey) Hoch & Raven

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Wet to mesic disturbed areas, roadsides, fields and ditches from the lowland to montane zones; common throughout BC (ssp. ciliatum) to infrequent (ssp. glandulosum), or rare (ssp. watsonii) on Vancouver Island and S BC; amphiberingian, N to AK, YT and NT, E to NF and S to CA, TX and NC; E Asia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Epilobium ciliatum

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 0 1076 2453
Slope Gradient (%) 0 10 108
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 181 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 5 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: AT(1), BAFA(3), BG(2), BWBS(21), CDF(5), CWH(160), ESSF(233), ICH(89), IDF(63), MH(15), MS(75), PP(7), SBPS(37), SBS(139), SWB(12)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Epilobium adenocaulon Hausskn.
Epilobium adenocaulon var. ecomosum (Fassett) Munz
Epilobium adenocaulon var. holosericeum (Trel.) Munz
Epilobium adenocaulon var. parishii (Trel.) Munz
Epilobium adenocaulon var. perplexans Trel.
Epilobium americanum Hausskn.
Epilobium brevistylum Barbey
Epilobium brevistylum var. ursinum (Parish ex Trel.) Jeps.
Epilobium californicum Hausskn.
Epilobium californicum var. holosericeum (Trel.) Munz
Epilobium ciliatum var. ecomosum (Fassett) B. Boivin
Epilobium delicatum Trel.
Epilobium ecomosum (Fassett) Fernald
Epilobium glandulosum var. adenocaulon (Hausskn.) Fernald
Epilobium glandulosum var. ecomosum Fassett
Epilobium glandulosum var. macounii (Trel.) C.L. Hitchc.
Epilobium leptocarpum var. macounii Trel.
Epilobium ursinum Parish ex Trel.
Epilobium watsonii var. parishii (Trel.) C.L. Hitchc.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References