Smooth Willowherb Epilobium billardiereanum
Native. Not threatened.
As one of a few native species of Epilobium, it is the only native willowherbs present in the Dune Garden, and then not always. This annual species comes and goes, like a few others. It thrives with lots of water, so may never be a big factor in the Dune Garden.
Mainly a coastal species growing on damp sand or sandy ground close to slow moving steams, ponds and lakes. Although it favours sparse vegetated areas it is frequently found in association with several species of reeds and sedges.
It is a tall plant reaching almost a metre tall in some places with tiny pink flowers but it is the seed pods which are quite distinctive as they are long cylindrical structures which, when ripe, split open to reveal the seeds. Attached to these seeds are a number of fine white hair-like parachutes which give the plant a "fluffy" look. These are used to help disperse seeds by wind.
Over forty species of willowherb are found in Aotearoa New Zealnd, many of which are found nowhere else. This species is also to be found in Australia.
Flora of New Zealand