Vascular – Native
Herbs - Dicotyledons other than Composites
The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.
2n = 36
Current conservation status
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2017 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2012 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: By Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, John W. Barkla, Shannel P. Courtney, Paul D. Champion, Leon R. Perrie, Sarah M. Beadel, Kerry A. Ford, Ilse Breitwieser, Ines Schönberger, Rowan Hindmarsh-Walls, Peter B. Heenan and Kate Ladley.
2018 | At Risk – Declining
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | Data Deficient | Qualifiers: RR
2009 | At Risk – Declining | Qualifiers: DP, RR
2004 | Not Threatened
Endemic. New Zealand: North (from the Waikato River mouth and Bay of Plenty south), South and Chatham Islands.
Relatively open, marshy places; bogs, and about lake margins; sea level to 900m.
Loosely matted flaccid perennial herb, often much-branched, the stems 30-400 mm tall, creeping and rooting near the base; stems usually straw-coloured, strigulose all round least in the upper portions, with an admixture of glandular hairs in the inflorescence. Leaves much shorter than the internodes they subtend, opposite, alternate in the inflorescence, dull bluish-green, paler and occasionally slightly glaucous beneath (often tinged reddish especially along the lamina margin), the lateral veins visible, usually 2-3 on each side of the midrib; lamina 4-26 × 4-14 mm, narrowly to overy broadly ovate, apex acute or obtuse, base rounded, margins remotely, shallowly or rarely prominently serrulate, usually with 3-10 teeth on each margin; petioles distinct, 10-30 mm long. Inflorescence erect. Flowers erect. Ovaries 10-18 mm long, glandular and strigulose, on a pedicel 2-11 mm long. Floral tube 0.9-1.2 × 1.3-1.7 mm. Sepals 2.0-3.5 × 0.8-0.9 mm, weakly keeled, glandular and strigulose. Petals 3.3-6.2 × 1.6-3.5 mm, notch 0.7-2.0 mm deep, white. Stamens filaments white, of two types: long (1.2-3.0 mm long) and short (0.45-1.5 mm long), Anthers 0.3-1.0 × 0.3-0.5 mm, cream. Style 1.7-2.3 mm long, white tinged pink near the base, stigma 0.8-1.8 x 1.0-1.7 mm, broadly clavate surrounded by both or occasionally only the longer stamens at anthesis. Capsule 25-55 mm long, sparsely strigulose and glandular, on a pedicel 5-65 mm long. Seeds 0.8-1.1 mm long, orange to orange-brown, elliptic-oblong to elliptic-obovate, finely reticulate and scarcely to distinctly mamillate; coma 4-6 mm long, white, caducous.
Epilobium insulare is most often confused with E. chionanthum especially as both species grow in similar habitats and are morphologically superficially similar. Indeed Raven & Raven (1976) venture the hypothesis that E. insulare is either a species that has evolved through hybridisation with E. alsinoides and E. chionanthum, or that it is an autogamous derivative of the mostly outcrossing, larger flowered and seeded E. chionanthum. From Epilobium chionanthum, E. insulare is distinguished by its young stems which are evenly strigulose hairy all round rather than mostly glabrous, and where strigulose then only along lines decurrent from the margins of the petioles, distinctly red-margined leaves, smaller, more prominently notched petals (3.3-6.2 × 1.6-3.5 mm with the notch 0.7-2.0 mm deep in E. insulare; 6.0-11.0 × 4.5-6.0 mm with the notch 0.8-1.3 mm deep in E. chionanthum), and by the smaller seeds (0.8-1.1 mm long in E. insulare 1.4-1.8 mm long in E. chionanthum), and a white rather than grey coma.
November to March
January - April
Minute pappate seeds are wind dispersed (Thorsen et al., 2009).
Easily grown from fresh seed and rooted pieces. Does best when planted into a swamp or within a pot partially immersed in a pond.
epilobium: From the Greek epi- ‘upon’ and lobos ‘a pod’, the flowers appearing to be growing on the seed pod.
insulare: From the Latin insula ‘island’, pertaining to or growing on islands
Where To Buy
Not commercially available.
Fact Sheet Prepared for NZPCN by: P.J. de Lange 28 August 2011. Description adapted from Raven & Raven (1976) and Webb & Simpson (2001).
References and further reading
Raven, P.H.; Raven, T.E. 1976: The genus Epilobium in Australasia. New Zealand DSIR Bulletin 216. Wellington, Government Printer.
Thorsen, M. J.; Dickinson, K. J. M.; Seddon, P. J. 2009. Seed dispersal systems in the New Zealand flora. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 11: 285-309
Webb, C.J.; Simpson, M.J.A. 2011: Seeds of New Zealand Gymnosperms and Dicotyledons. Christchurch, Manuka Press.
NZPCN Fact Sheet citation
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Epilobium insulare Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/epilobium-insulare/ (Date website was queried)