Help! Our income has dropped considerably for several months and unless it improves soon we will be in financial difficulty. More >>>

Follow Us:

 

Epilobium angustifolium - L.

Common Name Willow Herb
Family Onagraceae
USDA hardiness 3-7
Known Hazards An infusion of the leaves is said to stupefy a person[4].
Habitats Rocky ground, waste areas, woodland edges and gardens[7, 13].
Range Europe, including Britain, temperate Asia and N. America.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Epilobium angustifolium Willow Herb


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Epilobium_spp_Sturm42.jpg
Epilobium angustifolium Willow Herb
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Ies

Translate this page:

You can translate the content of this page by selecting a language in the select box.

Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Epilobium angustifolium is a PERENNIAL growing to 2 m (6ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 3 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Synonyms

Chamaenerion angustifolium.

Habitats

Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Meadow;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers;  Leaves;  Root;  Stem.
Edible Uses: Tea.

Leaves and young shoot tips - raw or cooked[2, 5, 12, 62, 172, 183]. They can be used in salads or cooked as a vegetable[9]. When boiled they make a wholesome vegetable and are a good source of vitamins A and C[2, 257]. Only use the leaves when they are young[85]. Although they are said to be edible, another report says that an infusion of them can stupefy[4]. Young shoots - cooked. They make a good asparagus substitute[2, 9, 183, 213]. Root - raw, cooked or dried and ground into a powder[74, 172]. Used in spring, it has a sweet taste[12, 74]. Flower stalks - raw or cooked[85, 106, 172, 183]. Added to salads, they are used when the flowers are in bud[183]. The pith of young or older stems - raw or cooked[62, 99, 183]. Slightly sweet, tender and pleasing to eat, though there is not much of it[85, 172]. Gelatinous[161], it can be used as a flavouring in soups[183]. The stems are said to be a good laxative, but are best not eaten on an empty stomach[256]. A tea is made from the dried leaves[9, 62, 85, 94, 183], it is sweet and pleasant[172]. Called 'kaporie' tea in Russia, it contains 10% tannin[222]. The leaves are also used as an adulterant of China tea[2].

Medicinal Uses



Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antiinflammatory;  Antispasmodic;  Astringent;  Demulcent;  Emollient;  Hypnotic;  Laxative;  Poultice;  
Tonic.

Willow herb is often used as a domestic herbal remedy, though it is little used in conventional herbalism. The herb is antispasmodic, astringent, demulcent, emollient, hypnotic, laxative and tonic[4, 7, 172, 192]. It is used in the treatment of diarrhoea, mucous colitis and irritable bowel syndrome[254]. The plant is used in Germany and Austria to treat prostate problems[254]. A poultice of the leaves is applied to mouth ulcers[222]. An extract of the leaves has anti-inflammatory activity[222]. An ointment made from the leaves has been used to soothe skin problems in children[254]. A tea made from the leaves and roots is a folk remedy for dysentery and abdominal cramps[222]. A poultice made from the peeled roots is applied to burns, skin sores, swellings, boils etc[222, 257].

Other Uses

Fibre;  Stuffing;  Tinder;  Weather protection.

A fibre obtained from the outer stems is used to make cordage[99, 207, 256]. The 'cottony' seed hairs are used as a stuffing material[99, 118] or as a tinder[106, 172]. The powdered inner cortex is applied to the hands and face to give protection from the cold[99, 172, 257].

Cultivation details

An easily grown plant, it prefers a well-drained but moisture retentive soil in a sunny position[200], though it succeeds in most soils[1]. It prefers a moist soil[111], but also succeeds on dry banks[188]. It is best grown in open woodland[1]. Plants are hardy to at least -20°c[187]. The rosebay willowherb spreads vigorously by means of a creeping rhizome, and often forms large patches[187]. It is apt to become a weed especially through its seed which is very light and capable of travelling long distances in the wind. It is often one of the first plants to colonize disturbed areas such as scenes of fires[1, 200]. A very ornamental plant[1], it is the floral emblem of the Yukon[172]. A food plant for the caterpillars of several lepidoptera species[24], it is also a good bee plant[74, 94].

Propagation

Seed - sow early spring in situ or as soon as the seed is ripe[111]. This plant is more than capable of finding its own way into most gardens and does not usually require an invitation. Division in spring or autumn. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Rose bay, Fireweed, Willow Herb, Great willowherb, French willow, Almaruat, Kaporuski, Vrbolika,

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Alaska, Australia, Balkans, Bosnia, Britain, Canada, Estonia, Europe, Iceland, India, Ireland, North America, Norway, Pakistan, Russia, Turkey, USA.

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : Epilobium angustifolium (Great Willow Herb) Status: Least Concern

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Epilobium coloratumPurpleleaf willowherb10
Epilobium glabellum 11
Epilobium hirsutumCodlins And Cream21
Epilobium latifoliumRiver Beauty32
Epilobium macranthum 11
Epilobium palustreMarsh Willow Herb10
Epilobium parviflorumCodlins And Cream, Smallflower hairy willowherb20
Epilobium pyrricholophum 10
Epilobium tetragonumSquare-Stemmed Willow Herb10

 

Print Friendly and PDF

Expert comment

Author

L.

Botanical References

17200

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Alexander Proot   Sat Dec 29 2007

I believe it's important to add the other comon scientific name of this plant: Chamerion angustifolium (L.) Holub

   May 24 2012 12:00AM

This plant *cured* me of prostate pain. It is better than saw palmetto, which only treats the symptoms.

   May 24 2012 12:00AM

Epilobium parviflorum is the exact species (its still willow herb!) I used. It's a VERY effective cure. Although its a special use, its great for that use... I'd put the medicinal rating at 5.

QR Code

What's this?

This is a QR code (short for Quick Response) which gives fast-track access to our website pages. QR Codes are barcodes that can be read by mobile phone (smartphone) cameras. This QR Code is unique to this page. All plant pages have their own unique code. For more information about QR Codes click here.

1. Copy and print the QR code to a plant label, poster, book, website, magazines, newspaper etc and even t-shirts.

2. Smartphone users scan the QR Code which automatically takes them to the webpage the QR Code came from.

3. Smartphone users quickly have information on a plant directly for the pfaf.org website on their phone.

Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at [email protected]. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Epilobium angustifolium  
All the information contained in these pages is Copyright (C) Plants For A Future, 1996-2012.
Plants For A Future is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Charity No. 1057719, Company No. 3204567,
Web Design & Management
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Some information cannot be used for commercial reasons or be modified (but some can). Please view the copyright link for more information.