Fireweed (Chamaenerion angustifolium)
Fireweed is commonly found throughout the temperate northern hemisphere between the months of June through September. It gets its name from its fast colonization after a fire burn and from its unique appearance. These flowers grow up to 4-6 feet tall, with bright pink showy flowers (USDA). Once the flowering period ends for fireweed, these plants can produce up to 80,000 seeds to be dispersed from the original plant (USDA). The seeds have a fluffy appearance, giving them the ability to travel far in the wind.
Not only was the fluffy part of the seed used in dispersion, but native people would use it for weaving. This plant also offers other nutritional value to native people, especially those in parts of Canada and Alaska, where the plant is abundant. The leaves are used in making tea, the shoots – a delicious vegetable – provide high concentrations of Vitamin A and Vitamin C, and the rich nectar can yield honey, jelly and syrup (USDA).
Written by Anna Cressman
PC: Anna Cressman