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

Circaea alpina L. subsp. alpina
enchanter's-nightshade (small enchanter's nightshade)
Onagraceae (Evening Primrose family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants
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Distribution of Circaea alpina subsp. alpina
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from a slender, tuber-tipped rhizome; stems erect, 10-50 cm tall, simple or branched, glabrous or appressed short-hairy.
Opposite, heart- to egg-shaped, 2-6 cm long, more or less entire to toothed, short-hairy on the lower surface, tips pointed; stalks 1.5-4 cm long, with narrow wings.
Inflorescence of terminal clusters of 8-12 flowers, often with 1 or 2 linear bracts at the base; flower stalks spreading to erect, becoming reflexed and about equalling the fruit; hypanthium 0.3-0.5 mm long; petals 2, white to pale pink, 1-1.5 mm long, erect, deeply notched; sepals 2, 1-2 mm long, bent downward; stigmas 2-lobed.
Capsules, top- or pear-shaped, about 2 mm long, hooked-hairy, 1-chambered; seeds 1, glabrous.
Two subspecies occur in BC:

1. Stems glabrous; leaf bases heart-shaped; margins toothed; plants from throughout BC.................. ssp. alpina

1. Stems hairy; leaf bases from nearly heart-shaped to blunt; margins nearly entire to toothed; plants from coastal and S BC................... ssp. pacifica (Asch. & Magnus) Raven

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist to wet forests in the lowland and montane zones; frequent throughout BC; circumboreal, N to AK and NT, E to NF and S to GA, SD, CO and CA; Eurasia.

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.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

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General References