Weed of the Month

Learn about noxious weeds and steps you can take to manage or eradicate.  Each month we will bring you a new profile and helpful resources.

August Weed Profile

Hairy willowherb, Codlins and Cream

Epilobium hirsutum

“These delicate flowers are ones to get a notebook and draw a picture.  The beautiful color and the uniqueness that is captured as the seeds disperse is one to grab your camera and take a picture.”   (NC State Extension) Despite its invasive tendencies, this plant is often used as an ornamental.

Hairy willowherb was first reported in Newport, Rhode Island in 1829.   It is a member of the Evening primrose family (Onagraceae).  The Evening primrose family is distinguished by having flowers that are 4 separate petals and 4 separate sepals.

A perennial, Hairy willowherb can grow up to 6 feet tall.  The plant is covered with fine hairs.  The leaves look like those of a willow, therefore the name “willowherb.”  The flowers are very showy, rose to purple color.  They have notched petals with white centers and creamy white stigmas.  The fruit has silky white hairs with small seeds attached.

Hairy willowherb reproduces by rhizomes, seeds or fragments of the plant transported from one area to another.  One plant can produce up to 70,000 seeds per growing season.  In the event that there are not natural pollinators available, Hairy willowherb is capable of self-pollinating.

Because this plant is semi-aquatic, it can survive changing water levels: when roots are submerged, they develop aerenchyma tissue (contains air spaces to hold oxygen) to allow the exchange of oxygen between roots and the upper part of the plant.

All of these factors allow Hairy willowherb to aggressively inhabit new wetland areas.  These infestations prevent native plant species from thriving and chokes water flow.

Several years of consistent control is needed to be successful with eradication.

Items of Interest

Weed of the Month

2021

January Weed Profile – Dalmatian Toadflax

February Weed Profile – Common Mulllein

March Weed Profile – Mediterranean Sage

April Weed Profile – Saltcedar

May Weed Profile – Absinth Wormwood 

June Weed Profile – Eurasian watermilfoil 

July Weed Profile – Yellow starthistle 

2020

January Weed Profile – Cheatgrass

February Weed Profile – Myrtle Spurge

March Weed Profile – Hoary Cress

April Weed Profile – Leafy Spurge

May Weed Profile – Scotch Thistle

June Weed Profile – Dyer’s Woad

July Weed Profile – Orange Hawkweed

August Weed Profile – Purple Loosestrife

September Weed Profile – Teasel

October Weed Profile – Canada Thistle

November Weed Profile – Russian Knapweed

December Weed Profile – Russian Olive