Leaves of epilobium ciliatum
can be quite large, over four inches in length. They grow in opposite pairs along the stem, on short stalks; they have small, somewhat irregular teeth along the edges, a wide, light-colored midvein and prominent side veins. Plants form clumps, a few feet high. Stems and leaves have a light, strigose hair covering.
The four petals range in color from light purple pink to white, with a few lengthwise darker veins. Petals have a deep notch at the tip. The flower contains a ring of eight, thin, purple stamens, topped by light-colored anthers attached at the midpoint. At the center is a white, club-like stigma, similar in height to the anthers.
There are three subspecies. Ssp ciliatum
has small petals, around a quarter of an inch long, colored white to pale pink. Ssp glandulosum
has petals up to half an inch long, and an elongated inflorescence. Ssp watsonii
(a coastal variety) has petals up to half an inch long, and a flat-topped inflorescence.