Great Willowherb

Lus na Tríonóide

Catherine Seale

Great Willowherb
Cathy Seale 2017

Common Name: Great Willowherb

As Gaeilge: Lus na Tríonóide

Scientific Name: Epilobium hirsutum

Identification Tips: Large perennial which can group up to 2 metres high. It is usually however between 1 metre to 1.5 metres. The plant has unstalked hairy leaves topped by bright pink flowers. These will measure 16 to 25 mm across. Obvious white cross of stigmas in the flower head. Occasionally, there can be white flowers.

Flowering: July to August

A Bit More About Great Willowherb

This is a tall plant which grows by streams, ditches and damp meadows. Be careful not to mistake this plant with Rosebay Willowherb which can often become common following a clear fell of forestry. Also, Great Willowherb can be confused with Purple Loosestrive which grows in similar habitats. To ensure it is Great Willowherb that you are looking at check it is has a bright pink flower with a white cross in the middle. The leaves and stems are very hairy. This trait is referred to in its Latin name ‘hirsutum’ which means hairy. Later in the season, feathery white silky hairs will be attached to the tiny seed head that is left when the plant finishes flowering. These silky parachutes will be dispersed by the wind ensuring that there is another generation of this plant. The flowers of Great Willowherb are visited by many of our insects, particularly bees and hoverflies.

This page was added on 24/04/2018.

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