The Great Willowherb or 'Epilobium Hirsutum' is a
wildflower of the genus Epilobium in the family 'Onigracea'.
Whilst Great Willowherb is it's most common name, it also have
a variety of local names such as 'apple pie', 'cherry pie' and
'codlins and cream' (codlins being a small sour cooking apple
which were boiled in milk and eaten with cream).
Great Willowherb flowers for 2 months of the year in July and
August, and is commonly found in damp ground, such as
riversides, grasslands, ditches and woodland clearings. The
flowers have a rosy colour and the stigma's are creamy white,
and it is this colour combination which is believed to have
led to some of the common names the plant has. The leaves and
stems are very woolly, referred to by the specific latin term
'hirsutum' which means hairy.
Whilst the leaves of the Great Willowherb have been used as an
astringent, there have been reports of violent poisoning, with
epileptic-like convulsions, The leaves of the closely related
'Rose Bay Willowherb' however have been used as a substitute
and adulterant of Tea. Though no longer so employed in
England, the leaves of both this species and of the Great
Hairy Willow-herb (E. hirsutum, Linn.) are largely used
in Russia, under the name of Kaporie Tea.
was captured a mile or so south of Titchfield on the old canal
path which runs alongside this previously navigable stretch of
the River Meon. Until the late 17th century, Titchfield was a
significant port, until trade moved to neighbouring
Southampton and Portsmouth as the navigation, which had been
opened in 1611 began to silt up and restrict the passage of
ships. When the canal was constructed, the outfall of the
River Meon to the sea was dammed, creating the wetlands that
now form Titchfield Haven Nature Reserve.