Epilobium microphyllum var. prostratum Petrie
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 threat classification 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) – more information about this can be found on the NZTCS website 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. Please note, threat classifications are often suggested by authors when publications fall between NZTCS assessment periods – a suggested threat classification status has not been assessed by the NZTCS panel.
2017 | Not Threatened
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | Not Threatened
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
Endemic: New Zealand: North, South and Chatham Islands. From about Kawhia and East Cape south, locally abundant around the Cook Strait region, thence mainly easterly in the South Island.
Gravelly or shingly riverbeds, flats and outwash plains; sea level to 1,200m.
Tufted, creeping herb with woody bases, and numerous ascending, wiry stems, (these branching from base) 120-150(-280) mm long. Stems purple-black or black (rarely pale brown), initially sprawling, bifariously pubescent, hairs, short ±. Leaves opposite, rarely alternate toward flowers, distant, on very short petioles; coriaceous, glabrous, adaxially; lamina usually broadly elliptic to rotund, rarely elliptic, sometimes oblong, ovate-oblong, ovate to obovate, 2-8 × 1-3 mm, dark green often with purple-red margins, abaxially usually purple-red, margins faintly denticulate or entire, apex mucronulate. Flowers 3-4 mm diameter; floral tube 0.4-0.6 mm deep, strigillose outside; petals white, 2.0-2.9 × 0.8-1.9 mm. Capsules with conspicuous bands of strigillose hairs along the lines of dehiscence, thus appearing striped light and dark, rarely strigillose all over, 0.9-2.2 cm long; fruiting pedicel 0.2-1.6 cm long. Seed smooth.
Other Epilobium species; particularly E. brunnescens from which it is easily distinguished by the purple-black, ascending, wiry stems, and dark purple-black, silvery striped fruiting capsules.
December - February
October - March
Minute pappate seeds are wind dispersed (Thorsen et al., 2009).
Easily grown from rooted pieces and fresh seed. An attractive plant for an open spot, a rock garden, or as a pot plant. However, inclined to become invasive. Prone to powdery mildew in humid climates.
epilobium: From the Greek epi- ‘upon’ and lobos ‘a pod’, the flowers appearing to be growing on the seed pod.
microphyllum: Small leaf
Where To Buy
Not Commercially available
Fact sheet prepared by P.J. de Lange for NZPCN (1 June 2013)
References and further reading
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
NZPCN Fact Sheet citation
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Epilobium microphyllum Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/epilobium-microphyllum/ (Date website was queried)