Willowherb, Pale

Information on Pale Willowherb

Common Name: Pale Willowherb
Scientific Name: Epilobium roseum
Irish Name: Saileachán gasach
Family Group: Onagraceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period

Click for list of all flowering by month
Pale Willowherb could sometimes be confused with:

Willowherb, Short-fruited, Willowherb, American,

Pale Willowherb is an erect plant species which reaches about 70cm at most. As its common name might suggest, its flowers (4-7mm across) are quite pale, being almost white to pale pink. As with other Willowherbs, these flowers have four notched petals and at their centre is a club-shaped stigma. The green, notched leaves are almost hairless and pointed with impressed veins and have stalks which can be as long as 2cm. The upper stem is glandular hairy. The main stem of the plant has two distinct ridges with two shallower ridges. The seeds are in long pods or capsules 4-7cm in length. These flowers bloom in July and August. This is thought to be an introduced species of the Willowherb or Onagraceae family and it is only seen occasionally and records are quite scattered across Ireland. It tends to be found growing in damp, shaded places, moist woodland and hedgerows. 

I first saw Pale Willowherb near Wellingtonbridge, County Wexford in 2016 after I was told about it by Paul Green, BSBI Vice-county Recorder for Waterford and Wexford. I photographed it at the time. 

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

There are a few members of the Willowherb family which seem, at a glance, to resemble each too closely to make a quick identification. The shape of the stigma – at the centre of the flower – can help, usually being either club-shaped or 4-lobed. Also careful examination can reveal whether there are hairs on the stems or leaves and if so are they sticky or not. The shape of the leaves and stems is also crucial for identification. A hand lens of 10x is essential. 

Willowherb, Pale
Willowherb, Pale
Willowherb, Pale
Willowherb, Pale