Perennating by persistent basal rosettes, without turions or long rhizomes; stems erect, mostly solitary, freely branched when well developed, to 1 or even 1.5 m, puberulent at least above, usually in decurrent lines, sometimes even sericeous, and often also glandular in the infl; lvs opposite, or the upper offset or alternate, lanceolate or lance-ovate, mostly 3-12 נ0.5-3.5 cm, serrulate, the teeth somewhat remote (usually 2-5 per cm of margin) or small and obscure; fls numerous; sep 2-6 mm, not projecting in bud; pet 2-6 mm, white (pink), notched; fr 4-10 cm, on a ±evident pedicel 2-15+ mm; seeds numerous, ca 1 mm, broadly short-beaked, longitudinally finely ribbed (evidently so at 20ש; coma nearly white; 2n=36. Wet places, often in unstable habitats, variable and often somewhat weedy; Nf. and Lab. to Alas., s. to Va., w. N.C., Ind., Io., Calif., Tex., Mex., and C. Amer.; Chile and Arg. June-Aug. Ours is the widespread var. ciliatum. (E. adenocaulon; E. americanum; E. perplexans)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Erect perennial with fibrous roots, reaching 1 m tall, often smaller, stems freely branching above, glabrous or pubescent, sometimes glandular in inflorescence. Leaves: Short petiolate with blades ovate to lanceolate to elliptic-lanceolate, 3-7 cm long, obtuse to acute, serrate; opposite below, becoming offset above. Flowers: Erect raceme with many flowers; 4 sepals, 2 mm long; petals apically notched, 2-10 mm, white to pink or reddish. Fruits: Dehiscent capsule, slender 4-6 cm long, tinged with red. Ecology: Found on moist soils from 4,000-10,000 ft (1219-3048 m); flowers May-September. Distribution: Throughout N. Amer., most states in the U.S. except the southeast; south to S. Amer.; also in Asia, Australia and Europe. Notes: Distinguished by the small pink flowers at the end of a long inferior ovary, that, when mature, splits open along sutures revealing small seeds with hair attached. The plant is often erect, has a reddish color and and has linear leaves. Only occurs in wetlands. Ethnobotany: Used against diarrhea, and to treat leg pains and muscular cramps. Etymology: Epilobium comes from Greek epi, meaning upon and lobos, meaning a pod or capsule, while ciliatum refers to the hairs that give a fringe to parts of the plant, like an eyelash. Synonyms: Many, see Tropicos Editor: SBuckley 2010, FSCoburn 2015