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Published In: Species Plantarum 1: 347. 1753. (1 May 1753) (Sp. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 6/2/2011)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 6/3/2011)
Contributor Text: Peter C. Hoch and Peter H. Raven
Synonym Text: Chamaenerion Seg., Pl. Veron. 3: 168. 1754; S. F. Gray, Natur. Arrang. Brit. Pl. 559. 1821; Shteinberg in Schischkin & Bobrov, Fl. URSS 15: 621. 1949 ("Chamaenerium"); Chamerion (Raf.) Raf., Herb. Raf. 51. 1833; Holub, Folia Geobot. Phytotax. 7: 85.1972.
General/Distribution: A genus with about 185 species worldwide, with major species groups in North America, Eurasia, and Australasia; mostly temperate in distribution, only in the mountains in the tropics. This treatment largely follows that of Raven (1962 and others). The genus is still in need of critical revision in the Himalayan region. In the group of small alpine species in particular the specific limits are not easily defined, and some of the better more recent collections may indeed represent new species. Represented in Pakistan by 18 species.


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Perennial or rarely annual herbs, erect or prostrate, densely pubescent to glabrous. Leaves simple, opposite at least below or spirally arranged throughout, denticulate to serrulate or rarely entire, sometimes pubescent. Flowers in axillary racemes. Calyx of 4 free or basally fused equal sepals. Petals 4, notched at the apex or entire, equal, free or basally fused. Stamens 8, the episepalous ones longer. stigma 4-lobed, capitate or clavate. Capsules elongate, slender, 4-locular, locuicidal, pubescent or glabrous, pedicellate or subsessile. Seeds many, comose, foveolate or variously papillose. Chromosome number n = 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 30, 36 (only n = 18 known for species from Pakistan).

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1 Leaves alternate or spirally arranged; flowers showy, ± zygomorphic; the style deflexed, at least before the anthers have dehisced; flora tube absent. (2)
+ Leaves opposite or verticillate, at least below; flowers actinomorphic; the style very rarely reflexed; floral tube 0.5-3 mm long. (4)
2 (1) Inflorescence spicate, many flowered; plants tall, erect: seeds smooth, l-1.3 mm long. 1 Epilobium angustifolium
+ Inflorescence leafy, with fewer flowers; plants low-growing, +/- decumbent; seeds papillose, 1.3-2.1 mm long. (3)
3 (2) Stems usually glabrescent; style glabrous. 2 Epilobium latifolium L. subsp. latifolium
+ Stems densely strigose; style hairy near the base. 2 Epilobium latifolium subsp. speciosum
4 (1) Stigma distinctly four-lobed; stems covered with long spreading hairs. (5)
+ Stigma entire, clavate to capitate; stems subglabrous or covered with short incurved or gland-tipped hairs. (6)
5 (4) Leaves distinctly clasping, petals 6-20 mm long, purplish. 3 Epilobium hirsutum
+ Leaves subsessile but not clasping; petals 3.2-9 mm long, pink. 4 Epilobium parviflorum
6 (4) Cauline leaves linear or narrowly lanceolate, sub-entire; seeds 1.4-2.2 mm long, with a prominent beak at the chalazal end. 17 Epilobium palustre
+ Cauline leaves narrowly lanceolate to ovate, serrulate; seeds 0.7-1.5 mm long, with short or inconspicuous chalazal beak. (7)
7 (6) Flowers 3-4.5 mm long; ovaries white-canescent; seeds with short pellucid beak at chalazal end 18 Epilobium minutiflorum
+ Flowers mostly over 4 mm long, or if less then seeds lacking the chalazal beak; ovaries pubescent or not, but not canescent. (8)
8 (7) Stems pubescent all around, without distinct hairy lines running down from the petioles. (9)
+ Stems not pubescent all around, or if so above, with more or less distinct pubescent lines decurrent from the petioles. (10)
9 (8) Pubescence of the stems and inflorescence predominantly strigose or strigillose. 8 Epilobium royleanum
+ Pubescence of stems and inflorescence mostly glandular.
10 (8) Leaves narrowly lanceolate, subcoriaceous, coarsely serrulate. (11)
+ Leaves lanceolate or broader, rarely subcoriaceous, moderately serrulate to subentire. (13)
11 (10) Lines decurrent from the petioles strongly strigillose; leaves subsessile; seeds coarsely papillose. 5 Epilobium tetragonum
+ Lines decurrent from the petioles glabrous or sparsely strigillose; leaves evidently petiolate; seeds low papillose or smooth. (12)
12 (11) Seeds smooth (foveolate). 7 Epilobium tibetanum
+ Seeds papillose. 6 Epilobium cylindricum
13 (10) Base of plant with + leafy shoots, ascending or decumbent, clumped and/or basally branched; lacking scales. (14)
+ Base of plant with fleshy turions that leave scales later, suberect and often strict, at least below. (17)
14 (13) Plants low-growing, caespitose, often delicate. (15)
+ Plants larger, more ascending or suberect. (16)
15 (14) Seeds papillose; leaves subsessile; flowers rose purple; plants subglabrous. 13 Epilobium leiophyllum
+ Seeds smooth; leaves petiolate; flowers white or pink; plants strigillose, at least on the inflorescence. 16 Epilobium pseudobscurum
16 (14) Flowers white; mature pedicels mostly longer than 1 cm; decurrent lines from petioles and inflorescence strigillose. 9 Epilobium amurense subsp. laetum
+ Flowers rose-purple to pink; pedicels mostly less than 1 cm long; stem subglabrous.
17 (13) Flowers 6-14 mm long; seeds 1.1-1.5 mm long; pedicels mostly less than 5 mm long in fruit. (18)
+ Flowers mostly less than 6 mm long; seeds less than 1.1 mm long; pedicels 5-20 mm long in fruit. (19)
18 (17) Flowers 10-14 mm long; stigma often exserted beyond anthers; leaves ovate, sharply serrulate. 12 Epilobium laxum
+ Flowers less than 10 mm long; stigma surrounded by anthers; leaves elliptic, often narrow, scarcely denticulat 11 Epilobium glaciale
19 (17) Inflorescence erect; crowded subsessile leaves 1.5-2.5 cm long; plants low-growing, less than 20 cm tall. 15 Epilobium chitralense
+ Inflorescence suberect or nodding, at least in bud; leaves petiolate, mostly longer than 2.5 cm; plants mostly taller than 20 cm. (20)
20 (19) Leaves narrowly ovate, 1.5-3.5 cm long; petals 3-4.2 mm long; seeds finely papillose. 14 Epilobium aitchisonii
+ Leaves lanceolate, 3-6 cm long; petals 4-6 mm long; seeds coarsely papillose. 10 Epilobium rhynchospermum
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