Short-fruited Willowherb - Epilobium obscurum


Medium to tall, somewhat hairy plant, with leafy above ground stolons produced during the Autumn, but not terminating in a rosette. Stems round, with raised lines. Leaves opposite, but the upper few alternate, oval to lanceolate, toothed, unstalked. Glandular hairs on hypanthium. Flowers purplish pink, 7 to 10 mm the petals notched, stigma club shaped.

Similar Species

One of four similar species; E tetragonum, E roseum and E ciliatum also have club-shaped stigma.   E roseum has many glandular hairs and longer petioles, and is on the VC55 Rare Plant Register.  E tetragonum has no glandular hairs and perennates with lax sessile leaf-rosettes. E ciliatum has numerous glandular hairs on the upper parts of the stem, sepals and parts of the fruits, and perennates dense leafy basal rosettes.   Hybrids also occur.  

Identification difficulty
Recording advice

The County Recorder has asked for a specimen of this plant to be retained for verification


Damp habitats, wet ditches, marshes, water margins.

When to see it

July and August.

Life History


UK Status

Fairly frequent throughout Britain.

VC55 Status

Fairly frequent in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 76 of the 617 tetrads.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map