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Genus of the Month


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This page has been created for people who want to learn more about plants, especially in the context of their taxonomy (Latin names, etc.). This is by no means an exhaustive list of all available Web resources for a particular genus.
If you like this page, you might also want to visit the Land of the Glandular Trichomes , a microscopic look at plants in the Lamiaceae family. Also, you can see my contribution to the Conservation New England web site, entitled "The Introduction of Non-Native Plants into Massachusetts".

This month's genus:


Epilobium angustifolium. Photo taken by J. Forman.
May not be used without permission.

Subclass: Dicotyledoneae
Superorder: Rosidae
Order: Myrtales
Family: Onagraceae
Tribe: Epilobieae
Number of Species: More than 40
Root: From the Greek "epi", or upon, and "lob", or earlobe, a reference to the position of the flower's corolla, where earlobe refers to the seed capsule.

The genus Epilobium is comprised of species native to the southwestern parts of North America. Several species in this genus are pioneers, being the first to invade disturbed and burned habitats by seed or through vegetative reproduction. This characteristic has meant that several species, after being introduced to Europe, have become quite invasive. The photo of E. angustifolium above was taken in Assergi, Italy, where populations cover vast areas of fields and waste places. The photo below was also taken in Assergi, but is from a small population located in a wet area by a field.

Prob. Epilobium hirsutum. Photo taken by J. Forman.
May not be used without permission.

Here are a few links to images and descriptions of different Epilobium species:

  1. Heywood, V.H., ed. Flowering Plants of the World. New York, Oxford University Press: 1993.
  2. Neiring, William A. and Nancy C. Olmstead., eds. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers, Eastern Region. Alfred A. Knopf, New York: 1979.

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