Herb: River Beauty

Latin name: Epilobium latifolium

Synonyms: Chamaenerion latifolium

Family: Onagraceae (Evening Primrose Family)

Medicinal use of River Beauty:

The entire plant is used in Tibetan medicine, it is said to have a bitter taste and a cooling potency. Analgesic, antidote, anti-inflammatory, antipruritic, antirheumatic and febrifuge, it is used in the treatment of fevers and inflammations, plus also itching pimples.

Description of the plant:


40 cm
(1 foot)


Habitat of the herb:

River gravels, margins of streams and damp slopes.

Edible parts of River Beauty:

Young shoots - cooked. Used like asparagus. Very poor quality. Young leaves - raw. They become bitter with age. A good source of vitamins A and C. Flower stalks - raw or cooked. Eaten when the flowers are in bud. The dried leaves are used as a tea substitute. The core of mature stems is eaten raw. Slightly sweet, tender and pleasant tasting. Very fiddly though.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - sow early spring in situ or as soon as the seed is ripe. Division in spring or autumn. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.

Cultivation of River Beauty:

River gravels, margins of streams and damp slopes.

Known hazards of Epilobium latifolium:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.