12/10/10 – Featured in the WILDFLOWERS OF THE WORLD Group.
words which describe this image:
fireweed, wildflowers, flathead valley, montana, big mountain, Whitefish, Pacific Northwest, purple flowers, Canyon Creek, evergreens, July, summer
Fireweed is one of my favorite wildflowers. It blooms in late July and early August in the Pacific Northwest. I found this on the edge of Canyon Creek, behind Big Mountain near Whitefish, Montana (USA).
Photo taken in July, 2010, with a Kodak EasyShare Z712 IS camera. The only post processing done was contrast adjustment and adding my signature was added in Photoshop CS.
- Kathleen -
“Epilobium angustifolium, commonly known as Fireweed (mainly in North America), Great Willow-herb (Canada), or Rosebay Willowherb (mainly in Britain), is a perennial herbaceous plant in the willowherb family Onagraceae. It is native throughout the temperate Northern Hemisphere, including large parts of the boreal forests.”
“This herb is often abundant in wet calcareous to slightly acidic soils in open fields, pastures, and particularly burned-over lands; the name Fireweed derives from the species’ abundance as a coloniser on burnt sites after forest fires. Its tendency to quickly colonize open areas with little competition, such as sites of forest fires and forest clearings, makes it a clear example of a pioneer species. Plants grow and flower as long as there is open space and plenty of light, as trees and brush grow larger the plants die out, but the seeds remain viable in the soil seed bank for many years, when a new fire or other disturbance occurs that opens up the ground to light again the seeds germinate. Some areas with heavy seed counts in the soil, after burning, can be covered with pure dense stands of this species and when in flower the landscape is turned into fields of color.”
“In Britain the plant was considered a rare species in the 18th century, and one confined to a few locations with damp, gravelly soils. It was mis-identified as Great Hairy Willowherb in contemporary floras. The plant’s rise from local rarity to widespread weed seems to have occurred at the same time as the expansion of the railway network, and the associated soil disturbance. The plant became locally known as bombweed due to its rapid colonization of bomb craters in the second world war.”
“The young shoots were often collected in the spring by Native American people and mixed with other greens. They are best when young and tender; as the plant matures the leaves become tough and somewhat bitter. The southeast Native Americans use the stems in the stage. They are peeled and eaten raw. When properly prepared soon after picking they are a good source of vitamin C and pro-vitamin A. The Dena’ina add fireweed to their dogs’ food. Fireweed is also a medicine of the Upper Inlet Dena’ina, who treat pus-filled boils or cuts by placing a piece of the raw stem on the afflicted area. This is said to draw the pus out of the cut or boil and prevents a cut with pus in it from healing over too quickly.”
“The root can be roasted after scraping off the outside, but often tastes bitter. To mitigate this, the root is collected before the plant flowers and the brown thread in the middle removed.”
“In Alaska, candies, syrups, jellies, and even ice cream are made from fireweed. Monofloral honey made primarily from fireweed nectar has a distinctive, spiced flavor.”
“In Russia, its leaves were often used as tea substitute and were even exported, known in Western Europe as Kapor tea. Fireweed leaves can undergo fermentation, much like real tea. Today, Kapor tea is still occasionally consumed though not commercially important.”
(taken from the article on wikipedia)