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Epilobium ciliatum - Northern willowherb

Synonym: Epilobium adenocaulon
French name:  Epilobe cilié
Dutch name: Beklierde basterdwederik
Family: Onagraceae
Group: Vascular plants
Origin: North America
Habitat: terrestrial
Introduction:  accidental
ISEIA Score : 8
Naturalization in Belgium
First observation in the wild: unknown
Invasion stage: spread
Spatial distribution: widespread
Reproduction in the wild: yes
Dispersion potential: high
Natural habitats: medium
More on invasiveness: Northern willowherb is a pioneer species that thrives mainly in man-made environments like arable lands, gardens, tree nurseries, clearcut and ruderal areas. It may also establish in open riparian habitats. Its seeds are adapted to wind dispersion and have a high germination rate. It is one of the arable weed species with the highest rate of increase in Europe.
Distribution in Belgium
Established populations
absent from district
isolated populations (1-5 localities per district)
widespread (>5 localities per district)
Endangered areas
low risk
medium risk
high risk

Impacts on Species
Predation / Herbivory: low
Competition: unlikely
Disease transmission: low
Genetic effects: likely
Impacts on Ecosystems
Nutrient cycling: unknown
Physical alteration: low
Natural successions: low
Food web alteration: low
More on impacts: Epilobium ciliatum forms hybrids with seven different native Epilobium species. Hybrids are rarely observed in the field but may be strongly overlooked. Some rare native Epilobium species may suffer from outbreeding depression where their habitat is invaded by E. ciliatum. Due to its small size, it is unlikely to oucompete native species.
Data Source & References
Authors: Branquart Etienne, Vanderhoeven Sonia, Van Landuyt Wouter, Van Rossum Fabienne, Verloove Filip
Published on:  31 May 2007
Last update:  21 December 2010
Bleeker, W., Schmitz, U. & Ristow, M. (2007)
Interspecific hybridisation between alien and native plant species in Germany and its consequences for native biodiversity.
Biological Conservation 137(2): 248-253.
Doogue D. & Kelly, D.L. (1985)
The progress of Epilobium ciliatum in Ireland with some notes on its hybrids.
Irish Nat. J. 21: 444-446.
Kasperek, G. (2004)
Fluctuations in numbers of neophytes, especially Impatiens glandulifera , in permanent plots in a west German floodplain during 13 years.
In: Kühn, I.& Klotz, S. (Eds.), Biological Invasions: Challenges for Science. NEOBIOTA 3: 27-37.
Krajšek, S.S. & Jogan, N. (2004)
Epilobium ciliatum Raf., a new plant invader in Slovenia and Croatia.
Acta Botanica Croatica 63(1): 49-58.
Lambinon, J., Delvosalle, L. & Duvigneaud, J. (2004)
Nouvelle fore de la Belgique, du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, du Nord de la France et des régions voisines.
Editions du Patrimoine du Jardin botanique national de Belgique, Meise.
Parker, I.M., Nakamura, R.R. & Schemske, D.W. (1995)
Reproductive allocation and the fitness consequences of selfing in two sympatric species of Epilobium (Onagraceae) with contrasting mating systems.
American Journal of Botany 82, 1007-16.
Preston, C.D. (1989)
The spread of Epilobium ciliatum Raf. in the British isles.
Watsonia 17, 279-88.
Van Landuyt, W., Hoste, I., Vanhecke, L., Van den Bremt, P. Vercruysse, W. & De Beer, D. (2006)
Atlas van de Flora van Vlaanderen en het Brussels gewest.
Nationale Plantentuin en het Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek i.s.m. Flo.Wer vzw.
Verloove, F. (2006)
Catalogue of the Neophytes in Belgium (1800-2005).
Scripta Botanica Belgica 39, 89 pp.
Walter, J. et al. (2005)
Neophytes in Austria: habitat preferences and ecological effects.
In: W. Nentwig et al. (eds), Biological invasions: form ecology to control. Neobiota 6: 13-25.
Wittenberg, R. (2005)
An inventory of alien species and their threat to biodiversity and economy in Switzerland.
CABI Bioscience Switzerland Centre report to the Swiss Agency for Environment, Forests and Landscape. The environment in practice no. 0629: 155p.
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