Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Celebrating Naturalistic Herbaceous Vegetation

Latin name: Epilobium angustifolium
Common name(s): Fireweed, Rosebay willow herb.
Family: Onagraceae
Range: Europe, including Britain, temperate Asia and N. America.
Attributes: produces tall purple flower spikes up to 18 inches long from early to late summer.
Uses: plant en masse, supports a wide range of wildlife, good for naturalizing.
Typical height: 2m
Habitat: pioneer growth after a fire or disturbance - leading to its common name, rocky ground, waste areas, woodland garden, dappled shade, shady edge, meadow.
Soil and site requirements/tolerances: prefers a well-drained but moisture retentive soil in a sunny position, will tolerate most soils.

Epilobium angustifolium in context of the private garden

Epilobium angustifolium has to be one of my favourite plants. It is generally under appreciated and often considered to be a weed. However, I cultivate this plant in my own garden and admire it for its naturalistic character, easy care and ability to support wildlife. I have recently began propagating the white version, Epilobium angustifolium "Album" which I have used successfully in many of my projects.

Epilobium angustifolium "Album"

Striking seed heads and beautiful fall colour

Naturalizing a recently disturbed site in the interior of BC

detailed botanical drawing

It's the determined character that draws me to this plant. The ability to move into disturbed sites, bring life and heal the land.


  1. Oh...that's what it is.

    The road to the west coast of the island is filled with what I have always called- "nature's" delphiniums, phloxes and lupins- none of them "true", but the road-side scape in May/June is amazing!

    Love the bontanical!

  2. Those are beautiful, and an interesting story behind them too!

  3. Great birds eye view of the fireweed colony along the stream.

  4. amazing nature pic. i like it.