Rosebay Willowherb

©Philip Precey

Rosebay Willowherb

©Ross Hoddinott/2020VISION

Rosebay willowherb

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Scientific name: Chamerion angustifolium
A tall plant, Rosebay willowherb is a successful coloniser; it can form dense stands of bright pink flower spikes on disturbed ground, such as woodland clearings, verges and waste ground.

Top facts

Stats

Height: up to 1.5m

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

June to September

About

The tall, pink flower spikes of Rosebay willowherb can often be seen crowding together in thick stands in open spaces, such as woodland clearings, roadside verges, grassland and waste ground. A successful coloniser, Rosebay willowherb has grown in number from a scarce woodland plant to a ubiquitous flower. This expansion occurred as a result of two World Wars clearing huge areas of forest and burning the ground in both town and countryside - just the right conditions for this plant to thrive in. One of its common names in the South East, 'Bombweed', alludes to this takeover.

What to look for

Rosebay willowherb is a tall plant with pink flowers rising up a flower spike. It has lance-like leaves that are arranged in spiral formation up its stem.

Where to find

Widespread.

Did you know?

Rosebay willowherb is able to colonise new areas because of its specially adapted seeds - fitted with tiny, cottony 'parachutes' they are able to disperse across long distances on the slightest breeze. Each plant can produce up to 80,000 seeds and the heat from fires and bonfires can help to germinate them, hence another common name of 'Fireweed'.