General: Perennial herb from widespread rhizome-like root; stems erect, 1-3 m tall, usually simple, glabrous except for fine minute hairs in the inflorescence and on the ovaries.
Leaves: Alternate, narrowly lanceolate, (5) 10-15 (20) cm long, entire or finely toothed, green, veiny below; nearly stalkless.
Flowers: Inflorescence a many-flowered, terminal raceme, elongating, flowers nodding in bud; hypanthium practically lacking; petals 8-20 mm long, the upper 2 wider than lower 2, deep pink to magenta, rarely white; sepals narrowly lanceolate, 7-16 mm long; anthers 1.5-2.2 mm long; ovaries 0.8-1.8 cm long, densely short-hairy; styles longer than the stamens, hairy on the lower portion; stigmas 4-lobed.
Fruits: Capsules, 4-10 cm long, densely short-hairy; seeds spindle-shaped, 1-1.3 mm long, surface irregularly netted, tuft of soft hairs persistent, 9-14 mm long, white; stalks 7-20 mm long.
Notes: Two sympatric subspecies occur in BC:
1. Leaves long and gradually tapering to the tip, nearly unstalked, often less than 2 cm wide and 10 cm long; midrib glabrous beneath....................... ssp. angustifolium
1. Leaves blunt to sharp-pointed (rarely gradually tapering), with stalks 1-7 mm long, mostly over 2 cm wide and 10 cm long, midrib glabrous to hairy beneath.................... ssp. circumvagum Mosquin
Mesic open forests, thickets, meadows, roadsides, burns, clearings and waste places in all vegetation zones; abundant throughout BC (ssp. circumvagum more common along coast than interior); circumboreal, N to AK, YT and NT, E to NF, and S to CA and VA; Eurasia.
A very shade-intolerant, submontane to subalpine, circumpolar forb (transcontinental in North America). Grows on recently cutover and/or burnt sites within boreal, temperate, and cool mesothermal climates; its occurrence decreases with increasing elevation. Scattered to abundant (often dominant) in herbaceous communities on a wide range of sites where it indicates increased decomposition of the remaining forest floor materials (originally Mor humus forms). In some situations, high-density stands of this species may hinder the survival and growth of forest plantations. Commonly associated with Polytrichum juniperinum. A nitrophytic species characteristic of fire-disturbed sites.
Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2020. E-Flora BC:
Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia [eflora.bc.ca]. Lab for
Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British
Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed:
2021-07-30 8:12:59 PM
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