Belongs to: willowherb family

Compare with: great willowherb

Rosebay willowherb Epilobium angustifolium

Also known as: fireweed

Best time to see: Jun to late Aug

Key facts

Native of America and successful coloniser of waste places, forming large patches of bright pink-purple spikes

Found in bare dry places: gained its name 'fireweed' because it is often the first plant to colonise after fires

Provides good forage for bees, in terms of both pollen (which is blue) and nectar


Tall almost hairless stems with a spike of pink-purple flowers at the top, 20–30 mm across

Leaves lanceolate and finely toothed

Plumed seeds drift long distances on the breeze

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  • flower

Photo © Laurie Forsyth

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