Willowherb Family

The Willowherb family of 650 species in 17 genera includes Fuchsia, native to South and Central America and New Zealand, Oenothera (Evening Primrose), native to the Americas, Epilobium/Chamaenerion (Willowherb) with a worldwide distribution and Clarkia and Gaura, native to North America. 

Typically in this family flowers have 4 Sepals – sometimes in a prominent calyx tube (as shown in the Fuchsia) – 4  Petals, 8 Stamens, and 1 Style with 1 stigma which has 4 lobes (as shown clearly in the Great Willowherb)

Fuchsia ‘Dark Eyes’

Fuchsia ‘Dark Eyes’

Great Willowherb flower

Great Willowherb 

Fragrant Evening Primrose Oenothera stricta flower

Fragrant Evening Primrose Oenothera stricta. The flowers open for 1 night but more if not pollinated. Two species were introduced to Britain in the 19th century but now are wild flowers, O. stricta on sand dunes and O. biennis (Common Evening Primrose) on waste ground, railway cuttings and roadsides.

Rosebay Willowherb Chamaenerion angustifolium
Rosebay Willowherb Chamaenerion angustifolium is a tall, native wild flower. Now found everywhere on disturbed ground, in gardens it is classed as a weed
Great Willowherb Epilobium hirsutum
Great Willowherb Epilobium hirsutum is a native wild flower found throughout Britain in damp areas. 

Fuchsia ‘Scarcity’
Fuchsia ‘Scarcity’ flower has 4 sepals which are fused into a red ‘calyx tube’ before spreading out horizontally.  Inside the tube are 4 longer petals. 8 stamens extend well below the petals with one longer style. 
White Gaura Gaura lindheimeri flower

The flowers of White Gaura Gaura lindheimeri has 4 white petals, 8 white stamens and a long style. This species and its varieties are popular garden perennials. It is native to southern North America and Mexico

Godetia Clarkia amoena flower

Godetia Clarkia amoena is native to western North America. It is a popular hardy annual garden plant.

Enchanter’s Nightshade Circaea lutetiana
Enchanter’s Nightshade Circaea lutetiana is a native wild flower found in woods and shady places throughout Britain 
Rosebay Willow Herb seed pods

Willowherbs have long seed pods as shown by this Rosebay Willowherb plant in winter. The pods split to release seeds with white hairs. The lower seed pods have split but those at the top are yet to split.