Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

Perennial herbs, rarely annual. Stipules 0. Leaves opposite, usually alternate above, toothed or entire. Flowers in a terminal inflorescence. Bracteoles 0. Sepals 4, not persistent. Petals 4, rose-purple or white, emarginate. Stamens 8. Stigma clavate, spherical or deeply 4-lobed. Ovary 4-locular. Dehiscence of capsule loculicidal. Seeds with a prominent tuft of hairs.
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© Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten and Petra Ballings

Source: Flora of Zimbabwe

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Ecology

Associations

Foodplant / open feeder
larva of Altica oleracea grazes on leaf of Epilobium

Foodplant / sap sucker
Aphis grossulariae sucks sap of live Epilobium
Remarks: season: summer

Foodplant / saprobe
sessile apothecium of Belonidium sulphureum is saprobic on dead stem of Epilobium
Remarks: season: 8-10

Foodplant / saprobe
stalked apothecium of Betulina fuscostipitata is saprobic on dead stem of Epilobium
Remarks: season: 7-10

Foodplant / open feeder
adult of Bromius obscurus grazes on live leaf of Epilobium
Remarks: season: 5-10
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
stalked apothecium of Brunnipila clandestina is saprobic on dead stem of Epilobium
Remarks: season: 4-8

Foodplant / saprobe
effuse colony of Ceratosporium dematiaceous anamorph of Ceratosporium fuscescens is saprobic on dead stem of Epilobium
Remarks: season: 2-6

Foodplant / saprobe
perithecium of Chaetosphaeria callimorpha is saprobic on dead stem of Epilobium
Remarks: season: 10-5

Foodplant / saprobe
perithecium of Chaetosphaeria innumera is saprobic on dead stem of Epilobium
Remarks: season: 9-5

Foodplant / saprobe
immersed, single or paired, beneath clypeus perithecium of Clypeosphaeria mamillana is saprobic on dead stem of Epilobium
Remarks: season: (1)2-3

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / feeds on
pycnidium of Conothyrium coelomycetous anamorph of Coniothyrium conoideum feeds on Epilobium

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Crepidotus cesatii is saprobic on decayed, dead stem of Epilobium

Foodplant / saprobe
apothecium of Crocicreas cyathoideum var. cyathoideum is saprobic on dead stem of Epilobium
Remarks: season: 3-10

Foodplant / saprobe
stalked apothecium of Crocicreas dolosellum is saprobic on dead stem of Epilobium
Remarks: season: 10-11

Foodplant / gall
larva of Dasineura kiefferiana causes gall of leaf edge of Epilobium

Foodplant / saprobe
colony of Dendryphion dematiaceous anamorph of Dendryphion comosum is saprobic on dead stem of Epilobium
Remarks: season: 1-12

Foodplant / saprobe
perithecium of Diaporthe arctii is saprobic on dead, blackened stem of Epilobium

Fungus / saprobe
immersed, often loosely grouped perithecium of Diaporthe eres is saprobic on dead stem of Epilobium

Foodplant / saprobe
immersed perithecium of Diaporthe pardalota is saprobic on dead stem of Epilobium
Remarks: season: 1-8

Foodplant / saprobe
acervulus of Hainesia coelomycetous anamorph of Discohainesia oenotherae is saprobic on dead stem of Epilobium

Foodplant / saprobe
sessile apothecium of Echinula asteriadiformis is saprobic on dead stem of Epilobium
Remarks: season: 4-7

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Endoperplexa subfarinacea is saprobic on dead, standing stem of Epilobium

Foodplant / saprobe
erumpent pseudothecium of Herpotrichia herpotrichoides is saprobic on dead stem of Epilobium
Remarks: season: 2-6

Foodplant / saprobe
clustered, subiculate pseudothecium of Herpotrichia macrotricha is saprobic on dead, damp stem of Epilobium
Remarks: season: 10-4
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
apothecium of Hyalopeziza millepunctata is saprobic on dead, decaying stem of Epilobium
Remarks: season: 5-10

Foodplant / saprobe
apothecium of Hyalopeziza niveocincta is saprobic on dead stem of Epilobium
Remarks: season: 9-2

Foodplant / saprobe
gregarious apothecium of Hyaloscypha hyalina is saprobic on dead stem of Epilobium
Remarks: season: 1-12

Foodplant / saprobe
stalked apothecium of Hymenoscyphus scutula is saprobic on dead stem of Epilobium
Remarks: season: 9-11

Foodplant / saprobe
stalked (often rather long) apothecium of Hymenoscyphus vitellinus is saprobic on dead stem of Epilobium
Remarks: season: 7-10

Foodplant / saprobe
subepidermal apothecium of Hypoderma commune is saprobic on dead stem of Epilobium
Remarks: season: 9-11

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Lachnella alboviolascens is saprobic on dead stem (large) of Epilobium

Foodplant / saprobe
sessile apothecium of Lasiobelonium nidulum is saprobic on dead stem of Epilobium
Remarks: season: 5-6

Foodplant / saprobe
superficial, gregarious perithecium of Lasiosphaeria caudata is saprobic on dead stem of Epilobium
Remarks: season: 7-8

Foodplant / saprobe
superficial perithecium of Lasiosphaeria phyllophila is saprobic on dead stem of Epilobium
Remarks: season: 11-4

Foodplant / saprobe
superficial perithecium of Lasiosphaeria strigosa is saprobic on dead stem of Epilobium

Foodplant / saprobe
immersed or semi-immersed pseudothecium of Lophiostoma angustilabrum is saprobic on dead stem of Epilobium
Remarks: season: 3-10

Foodplant / saprobe
immersed pseudothecium of Lophiostoma caudatum is saprobic on dead stem of Epilobium
Remarks: season: 1-4

Foodplant / saprobe
partly immersed pseudothecium of Lophiostoma fuckelii var. fuckelii is saprobic on dead stem of Epilobium
Remarks: season: 3-10

Foodplant / saprobe
immersed to partially erumpent pseudothecium of Lophiostoma origani var. rubidum is saprobic on dead, red to deep magenta stained stem of Epilobium
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
usually immersed pseudothecium of Lophiostoma vagabundum is saprobic on dead stem of Epilobium
Remarks: season: 1-12
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / nest
female of Megachile lapponica provisions nest with pollen of Epilobium

Foodplant / saprobe
colony of Menispora dematiaceous anamorph of Menispora ciliata is saprobic on dead stem of Epilobium

Foodplant / saprobe
sessile apothecium of Mollisina rubi is saprobic on dead stem of Epilobium
Remarks: season: 1-12

Foodplant / gall
larva of Mompha nodicolella causes gall of stem of Epilobium

Foodplant / saprobe
sessile sporodochium of Myrothecium dematiaceous anamorph of Myrothecium carmichaelii is saprobic on dead leaf of Epilobium

Foodplant / saprobe
superficial, scattered on in small groups, thinly subiculate perithecium of Nectria ellisii is saprobic on dead stem of Epilobium
Remarks: season: 5-12

Foodplant / saprobe
superficial perithecium of Niesslia exosporioides is saprobic on dry, dead leaf of Epilobium
Remarks: season: 4-8

Foodplant / saprobe
effuse colony of Periconia dematiaceous anamorph of Periconia byssoides is saprobic on dead, patchily blackened stem of Epilobium

Foodplant / saprobe
effuse colony of Periconia dematiaceous anamorph of Periconia minutissima is saprobic on dead leaf of Epilobium
Remarks: season: 1-12

Foodplant / saprobe
short-stalked apothecium of Pezizella discreta is saprobic on dead stem of Epilobium
Remarks: season: 10-11

Foodplant / saprobe
colony of Phragmocephala dematiaceous anamorph of Phragmocephala atra is saprobic on dead stem of Epilobium

Foodplant / saprobe
pseudothecium of Pleospora ambigua is saprobic on dead stem of Epilobium

Foodplant / saprobe
effuse colony of Pseudospiropes dematiaceous anamorph of Pseudospiropes obclavatus is saprobic on dead stem of Epilobium

Foodplant / saprobe
apothecium of Pyrenopeziza revincta is saprobic on dead stem of Epilobium

Foodplant / spot causer
Ramularia anamorph of Ramularia punctiformis causes spots on live leaf of Epilobium

Foodplant / saprobe
erumpent apothecium of Schizoxylon berkeleyanum is saprobic on dead stem of Epilobium

Foodplant / spot causer
amphigenous, minute, brown pycnidium of Septoria coelomycetous anamorph of Septoria epilobii causes spots on live leaf of Epilobium
Remarks: season: 7-8

Foodplant / saprobe
sunken apothecium of Stictis stellata is saprobic on dead stem of Epilobium
Remarks: season: 10-5

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Stypella grilletii is saprobic on dead stem of Epilobium
Other: unusual host/prey

Foodplant / open feeder
nocturnal larva of Tenthredo livida grazes on leaf of Epilobium

Foodplant / saprobe
effuse colony of Torula dematiaceous anamorph of Torula herbarum is saprobic on dead Epilobium

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Trechispora caucasica is saprobic on dead stem of Epilobium

Foodplant / saprobe
basidiome of Tulasnella pallida is saprobic on dead stem of Epilobium

Foodplant / saprobe
apothecium of Unguiculella foliicola is saprobic on dead, fallen stem of Epilobium
Remarks: season: 6-12

Foodplant / saprobe
erumpent, sessile apothecium of Velutarina rufo-olivacea is saprobic on dead stem of Epilobium
Remarks: season: 1-12 (good condition: 8)

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
Specimen Records: 228
Specimens with Sequences: 301
Specimens with Barcodes: 220
Species: 37
Species With Barcodes: 32
Public Records: 61
Public Species: 16
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Barcode data

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Wikipedia

Epilobium

Epilobium is a genus in the family Onagraceae, containing about 160-200 species of flowering plants with a worldwide distribution. They are generally abundant in the subarctic, temperate and subantarctic regions, whereas in the subtropics and tropics they are restricted to the cool montane biomes, such as the New Guinea Highlands where they are plentiful.

The taxonomy of the genus has varied between different botanists, but the modern trend is to include the previously recognised genera Boisduvalia, Chamaenerion, Chamerion, Pyrogennema and Zauschneria within Epilobium. Chamerion might be distinct, however,[1] according to Peter H. Raven, who has extensively studied the willowherbs and merges the other segregate genera into Epilobium. Fringed willowherb (E. ciliatum) is likely a cryptic species complex; apparently these plants also commonly hybridize with their congeners.[2]

Most species are known by the common name willowherbs; in particular, those that were once separated in Boisduvalia are called spike-primroses or boisduvalias. Yet other species, namely those in the Chamerion group, are also known as fireweeds.

Description and ecology[edit]

Ripe capsule of Zauschneria (E. canum) releasing seed

They are mostly herbaceous plants, either annual or perennial; a few are subshrubs. The leaves are mostly opposite or whorled, alternate in a few species, simple, and ovate to lanceolate in shape. The flowers have four petals often notched.[3] These are usually smallish and pink in most species, but red, orange or yellow in a few, and large and bright magenta in the Chamerion group. The fruit is a slender cylindrical capsule containing numerous seeds embedded in fine, soft silky fluff which disperses the seeds very effectively in the wind.

Willowherbs are typically very quick to carpet large swathes of ground and may become key or dominant species of local ecosystems. In and around the United Kingdom, for example, rosebay willowherb (E. angustifolium) is widely found in mesotrophic grassland dominated by false oat-grass (Arrhenatherum elatius), cock's-foot (Dactylis glomerata), and red fescue (Festuca rubra), while great willowherb (Epilobium hirsutum) is found in mesotrophic grassland with stinging nettle (Urtica dioica). These two willowherb species are also seen to dominate open habitat early in ecological succession, to the virtual exclusion of other plant life. Broad-leaved willowherb (Epilobium montanum) is found characteristically, though not abundantly, in the mesotrophic grasslands with meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) and sometimes the uncommon Greek valerian (Polemonium caeruleum), which are peculiar to the Pennines. Most willowherbs will not tolerate shade trees and thus are limited to more recently disturbed patches, yielding to other plants over time. Consequently, though the genus contains many pioneer plants, rather few of them are invasive weeds of major importance.

Epilobium species are used as food plants by the caterpillars of certain Lepidoptera species, including:
Geometridae

Noctuidae

Sphingidae

Use by humans[edit]

Fireweed (E. angustifolium) growing along rail tracks in Denali National Park, Alaska

The main use of Epilobium by humans is as a herbal supplement in the treatment of prostate, bladder (incontinence) and hormone disorders. (reference: http://www.epilobium.com/)

Many of the small willowherb species are nuisance weeds in gardens. Though few are regularly used as ornamental plants, the larger willowherbs may be attractive in ruderal locales. One of the most frequently recognized members of the genus is the circumboreal fireweed (E. angustifolium), known as rosebay willowherb in the United Kingdom. It rapidly colonizes burnt ground; during the bombing of London in World War II many of the derelict bomb sites were soon covered with these plants, bringing a splash of colour to what was otherwise a very grim scene. It is the floral emblem of Yukon in Canada, Hedmark in Norway (where it is called geitrams) and Southern Ostrobothnia in Finland.

Fireweed is used as a sweetener in northwestern North America. It is put in candy, jellies, ice cream, syrup, and sxusem ("Indian ice cream"). In the late summer its flowers yield pollen and copious nectar which give a rich spicy honey. Its young leaves, roots, and shoots are edible (if somewhat bitter), and rich in provitamin A and vitamin C. The Dena’ina found them also useful as food supplement for dogs and applied sap from the stem to wounds, believing it to have antiinflammatory properties.

Several researchers have studied this taxon. Heinrich Carl Haussknecht in the late 19th century and Peter H. Raven about a century later researched the phylogeny, systematics, and taxonomy of willowherbs. Peter Michaelis' studies of this genus paved the way for understanding of extranuclear inheritance in plants.

Species[edit]

The National Museum of Natural History recognizes an intermediate number of about 175 species in 10 sections, including two sections of Chamerion, which they consider distinct.[1] Other sources may list one or two dozen species, more or less:

Section Boisduvalia

Section Cordylophorum

Subsection Nuttalia
Subsection Petrolobium

Section Crossostigma

Section Epilobiopsis

Section Macrocarpa

Section Xerolobium

Section Zauschneria

Section Epilobium

Chamerion group[edit]

Section Chamerion

Section Rosmarinifolium

Formerly placed here[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Wagner & Hoch [2009a,b]
  2. ^ Bleeker et al. (2007)
  3. ^ Webb,D.A., Parnell, J. and Doogue, D. 1996. An Irish Flora. Dundaldan Press (W. Tempest) Ltd, Dundalk. ISBN 0-85221-131-7
  4. ^ Epilobium pygmaeum. USDA PLANTS.

References[edit]

  • Bleeker, Walter; Schmitz, Ulf & Ristow, Michael (2007): Interspecific hybridisation between alien and native plant species in Germany and its consequences for native biodiversity. Biological Conservation 137(2): 248-253. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2007.02.004 (HTML abstract, appendix reserved for subscribers)
  • Steenkamp, V; Gouws, M.C; Gulumian, M; Elgorashi, E.E. & van Stade, J. (2006): Studies on antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity of herbal remedies used in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostatitis. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 103(1): 71-75. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2005.07.007 PDF fulltext
  • Wagner, W.L. & Hoch, P.C. [2009a]: Evening Primrose Family website – Chamerion. Retrieved 2009-JAN-26.
  • Wagner, W.L. & Hoch, P.C. [2009b]: Evening Primrose Family website – Epilobium. Retrieved 2009-JAN-26.
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