Fireweed

photo by Andrew McKinlay CC BY-NC

Fireweed is a tall, single-stemmed plant (4-9 ft) with long, narrow leaves (up to 8 in long) and a tall spike of 50 or more pink to purple flowers. The flowers wither quickly and are replaced by long, narrow, purplish-red pods containing 300-500 seeds. The seeds, with their tuft of white hair, are readily picked up by the wind when the pod splits open.

Fireweed flowers from June to September in open meadows, along streams or roads and forest edges. It can be found in all parts of Canada and the United States except for the southern states close to the Gulf of Mexico.

Did you know? Fireweed is one of the first plants to appear after a fire or in clearcuts. It is common in Alaska and northern Canada.

See Also: Beargrass, Blazing Star, Camas, False Solomon's Seal, Goldenrod, Purple Prairie Clover, Red Paintbrush