hairy willowherb
Epilobium hirsutum L.


Epilobium hirsutum is a semi-aquatic perennial herbaceous plant. The plant is erect, branching, covered with soft hairs and grows up to 6 ft. (1.8 m) tall. E. hirsutum is native to Africa, temperate Asia and Europe.
E. hirsutum leaves are opposite, sessile and clasp the stem. Leaf blades are lanceolate-elliptic to narrowly obovate or elliptic 1.6-4.7 in. (4-12 cm) long and 0.12-1.6 in. (0.3-4 cm) wide. Foliage is villous both above and below with a serrulate margin. Leaf tip is acute to acuminate.
Solitary flowers are held on stems arising from the upper leaf axils. Stems can be floating or lying on the ground. The flowers are showy with bright pink to dark purple notched petals with white centers.
E. hirsutum reproduces by seeds, rhizomes and stolons. Fruits are narrow, pubescent, dehiscent seed pods from 1-3.5 in. (2.5-9 cm) long that contain numerous seeds. Seeds have long white hairs that aid in dispersal by wind.
Ecological Threat
E. hirsutum is an extremely widespread and variable species that spreads aggressively by vegetative growth in sunny open wetland habitats, although it can also invade uplands. It can form monocultures in natural wetlands, crowding out native species.


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EDDMapS Distribution

EDDMapS Distribution - This map is incomplete and is based only on current site and county level reports made by experts, herbaria, and literature. For more information, visit

State Regulated List

State Regulated List - This map identifies those states that list this species on their regulated list. For more information, visit

Taxonomic Rank

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Rosidae
Order: Myrtales
Family: Onagraceae
Genus: Epilobium
Subject: Epilobium hirsutum L.

Synonyms and Other Names

Other Common Names:
codlins and cream, hairy willow herb


Plants - Forbs/Herbs