A perennial herb which grows in various dry habitats in S.W. England, including roadsides, walls, banks, quarries, streets and dunes. Elsewhere, it is more frequently a garden weed. 0-400 m (Dartmoor, S. Devon).
There have been both apparent gains and losses of E. lanceolatum since the 1962 Atlas which are not easy to interpret, especially as it is a species which must be unfamiliar to many recorders. It has either spread, or been more comprehensively recorded, in S.W. England. Elsewhere, some garden weed occurrences may be impermanent, but nurseries act as a vector for fresh colonists.
Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 371
Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 0
Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 12
Atlas Change Index: 0.07
Scarce Atlas Account
Epilobium lanceolatum Sebast. and Mauri
Status: not scarce
E. lanceolatum grows in a wide range of disturbed sites where the vegetation cover is open and competition is low. It is found on sand dunes, open banks, walls and quarries and as a garden weed, typically in drier habitats than most Epilobium species. In Europe, it is typical of screen of siliceous rocks in a habitat mimicked in Britain by the loose granitic ballast and cinder along railway lines. A typical associate in central Europe and in the artificial British habitat is Senecio viscosus. Although primarily a lowland plant, E. lanceolatum reaches over 400 metres on Dartmoor.
E. lanceolatum is a perennial, reproducing both by wind-borne seeds and vegetatively in late autumn by above-ground stolons that terminate in leaf-rosettes.
The trends in its distribution are difficult to establish, due to apparent confusion with other willowherbs. There is some suggestion of a decline in England but new records on the rail network and as a garden weed in Wales and the Midlands partly offset this trend. The numerous pre-1970 records from Devon were extracted from Ivimey-Cook (1984); there has been no recent survey of this species in the county.
E. lanceolatum is found in west and southern Europe (from Britain, France and Belgium to the Balkans) and around the Mediterranean including North Africa and the Near East, as far east as the Caucasus mountains.
J. O. Mountford
PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections. A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.
Atlas text references
1978. Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 2. 2 vols.
et al (1994)
1979. Epilobium lanceolatum Seb. & Mauri - a plant to look for in your garden. Watsonia. 12:399.