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

Epilobium pygmaeum (Speg.) Hoch & P.H. Raven
smooth spike-primrose
Onagraceae (Evening Primrose family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Curtis Bjork  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #24122)

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Distribution of Epilobium pygmaeum
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This species was reported for BC by Douglas et al. (2002), however lacked precise location information. It has since been rediscovered in the province by Curtis Bjork in the Nicola Basin, who found it "in three small, highly disturbed vernal pools in grassland and shrub steppe in the uplands between the Nicola River and Quilchena Creek 25-30 km east of Merritt" (Bjork 2008). Associated species are reported as Alopecurus carolinianus, Beckmannia syzigachne, Eleocharis macrostachya, Limosella aquatica, Myosurus minimus, Plagiobothrys leptocladus, Rorippa curvisiliqua, and Veronica peregrina (Bjork 2008).


Bjork, Curtis. 2008. Vascular plants new to British Columbia. Botanical Electronic News 391.

Species Information

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Annual herb from a slender taproot; stems usually branched from base and spreading to ascending, 10-55 cm tall, peeling below; plant sparsely stiff-hairy to almost glabrous, pale-green.
Opposite near base, alternate above, lanceolate to egg-shaped, 8-35 mm long, finely toothed; unstalked or nearly so.
Inflorescence crowded in leafy spikes; flowers generally fertilized in the bud, not opening; hypanthium 0.3-1 mm long; petals 1-3 mm long, pink, deeply notched; sepals 0.7-2 mm long; stigmas sometimes nearly 4-lobed.
Capsules, cylindric, about 7 mm long, 1-1.5 mm wide, tough, slightly curved, pointed but not beaked, 4-chambered; unstalked; valves mostly adherant to partitions, the axis breaking-up as seeds shed; seeds 6-14 per chamber, in 2 rows, 1-1.3 mm long, netted, glabrous, brownish, without tuft of hairs.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Vernally moist sites in the steppe zone; rare in S BC east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains; E to SK and S to SD, UT, NV and CA; South America.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


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

Boisduvalia glabella (Nutt.) Walp.
Boisduvalia glabella var. campestris (Jeps.) Jeps.
Boisduvalia pygmaea (Speg.) Munz
Oenothera glabella Nutt.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References