Epilobium: From the Greek epi- 'upon' and lobos 'a pod', the flowers appearing to be growing on the seed pod.
chlorifolium: green leaved
Current Threat Status
2012 - Not Threatened
Previous Threat Status
2009 - Not Threatened
2004 - Not Threatened
Epilobium chlorifolium Hausskn.
Vascular - Native
Endemic. New Zealand: North and South Islands from Mt Hikurangi, the main axial ranges, Mt Taranaki and the Central Volcanic Plateau south.
Subalpine to Alpine. Mostly in tussock grassland and herbfield but extending into the bushline along stream sides. Epilobium chlorifolium has also been collected once, as a weed of gravel ballast in the railway shunting yard.
Clumped perennial herb, branched from the base and sometimes also above, the stems 70-450 mm tall; stems with strigulose lines running down from the margins of the petioles, evenly pubescent with an increasing proportion of glandular hairs in the inflorescence. Leaves opposite, alternate in the inflorescence, dill, the lateral veins prominent, 3-4 on each side of the midrib; petioles 0-2 mm long; lamina 10-30 × 12-20 mm, narrowly ovate to broadly ovate, apex acute, base rounded to obtuse, margins serrulate with 3-9 teeth on each side. Flowers erect. Ovaries 10-18 mm long, densely glandular-pubescent, some with with a few strigulose hairs; on a pedicel 1-3 mm long. Floral tube 0.9-1.4 × 1.2-2.4 mm. Sepals 3.0-5.6 × 1.2-1.5 mm, keeled, sparsely glandular-pubescent, often abaxially strigulose. Petals 7-11 × 5-8 mm, notch 1.2-1.6 mm deep, white. Stamen filaments white of two types: long (2.2-4.5 mm long) and short (1.4-2.5 mm long), Anthers 1.0-1.7 × 0.4-1.0 mm, yellow. Style 3.3-5.2 mm long, white; stigma 1.2-2.2 x 0.5-0.8 mm, white, clavate, surrounded by the anthers at anthesis or held well above them. Capsule 39-52 mm long, glandular-pubescent, sometimes with a few strigulose hairs, on a pedicel 15-25 mm long. Seeds 1.3-1.7 mm long, brown, obovate, sometimes with a narrow truncated beak, base subacute, finely reticulate-mammillate; coma 5-11 mm long, white, caducous.
Allied to basicolous Epilobium wilsonii with which it shares amolnst other characters pubescent ovaries whose indumentum is comprised solely of erect, glandular hairs. However, it differs from this narrow-range Kaikoura Coastline - South Marlborough endemic, by the much wider and less ecologically confined distribution; by the sepals which are 2.0-5.6 mm rather than 5.0-10.5 mm long in E. wilsonii; by the smaller petals (7-11 mm long cf. 10-18 mm long in E. wilsonii), and mostly smaller seeds 1.3-1.7 mm cf. 1.4-2.2 mm long) and distinctly longer coma (5-11 mm cf. 5-8 mm long in E. wilsonii).
October - April
Main Flower Colour
Other Flower Colour
October - July
Easily grown from fresh seed and rooted pieces. Does best in a rockery. Dislikes warm, humid climates where it is prone to getting powdery mildew
2n = 36
Where To Buy
Not commercially available.
References and further reading
Raven, P.H.; Raven, T.E. 1976: The genus Epilobium in Australasia. New Zealand DSIR Bulletin 216. Wellington, Government Printer.
Thorsen, M. J.; Dickinson, K. J. M.; Seddon, P. J. 2009. Seed dispersal systems in the New Zealand flora. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 11: 285-309
Webb, C.J.; Simpson, M.J.A. 2011: Seeds of New Zealand Gymnosperms and Dicotyledons. Christchurch, Manuka Press.
This page last updated on 14 Sep 2014