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

Successful coloniser of waste places, forming large patches of bright pink-purple spikes

Plumed seeds drift long distances on the breeze

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


Native of America; naturalised and spread rapidly during and since the two World Wars

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

  • Main photo

Photo © Laurie Forsyth