Common Fireweed (Epilobium Agustifolium) When you look at the Common Fireweed what do you see? Pink and purple stars shooting out from a magnificent tall stem!! The blossom has four petals, two are larger and connect at the base, with the other two smaller petals connection above them. Four narrow, long purplish sepals connect behind the petals.
Although when Fireweed covers the hillside it looks like fire. Fireweed actually gets its name because it is often the first plant to grow back after a fire. Meadows and open woods are filled to overflowing with beautiful Fireweed because they reproduce with underground stems called rhizomes, which are protected from a fire and allow them to reproduce rapidly. Common Fireweed stems are thick and woody with linear leaves and can grow up to six feet tall in the Kenai area, but usually ranges from two to four feet tall in other regions.Common Fireweeds stems long slender leaves, and flowers are edible raw and cooked. The blossoms are used to make jellies, syrup, and when making homemade honey. Bees are attracted to the brilliant color and make a delicious honey from Fireweed. One effect of eating to much Fireweed is drowsiness. Alaskan Natives used Fireweed tea made from the leaves for stomach aches and for restlessness. The greens when young are tender and can be used cooked or in salads.
The linear shaped leaves are connected on a alternate pattern to the stem. Leaves that are reddish and orange means that its autumn and the long seed pods will open soon. After the seed pods open it looks like down has replaced the blossom. Along comes the wind, down is dispersed, and the ground turns white. In the spring and fall Fireweed provides pleasure for all ages.
Created by Jeremy
Photo's by Dorothy Scott, used with permission, edited by Jeremy