Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Bog Willowherb - Epilobium leptophyllum   Rafinesque
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Section 6 » Order Myrtales » Family Onagraceae
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AuthorRafinesque
DistributionScattered over most of the mountains, but likely absent in some of the southwestern counties. A disjunct record, if correct, from Guilford County in the northern Piedmont.

This is a Northern species, ranging across Canada and much of the Northern states, south to PA and IA, but southward mostly in the mountains to western NC.
AbundanceRare to locally uncommon in the northern third of the mountains, south to Mitchell and Burke counties, but very rare southward to Macon County. Casual into the Piedmont, if still present. This species was formerly tracked by the NCNHP as Significantly Rare, but it has recently been moved to the Watch List. Their State Rank of S3 is clearly liberal, given that they have the much more common E. coloratum also at S3. The website editors are trying to "fix" this dichotomy of state ranking by that program -- counting numbers of element occurrences (such as 21 or more) to get to a rank of S3, versus looking at range maps and assigning a general rank of S3 to a species never tracked by number of occurrences -- with realistic rankings, in this case at best a rank of S2S3 (and S2 is probably more realistic), versus S4 for E. coloratum.
HabitatThis is a wetland species, usually at middle and high elevations, favoring bogs, less so in fens, wet or boggy meadows, and seepages.
See also Habitat Account for Montane Herbaceous Peatlands
PhenologyBlooms from July to October, and fruits shortly after flowering.
IdentificationThis is an erect herb growing to about 2' tall, with numerous branches. It has narrower leaves than the other two Epilobium species, these being alternate and linear to very narrowly elliptic or oblong, about 2" long but barely 1/10" wide, with revolute and entire margins. Also, additional small (fascicled) leaves grows in the axils. The inflorescence is like the others in the genus, with numerous small white (rarely pink) flowers on long stalks from axils. This species should be easily separated from the others in the genus by the very narrow leaves; however, many or most sites are on private lands in bogs, so you will likely have trouble finding it in NC.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Narrowleaf Willowherb, American Marsh Willowherb, Linear-leaved Willowherb
State RankS3 [S2S3]
Global RankG5
State StatusW1
US Status
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