Hansen's Northwest Native Plant Database

Chamerion angustifolium var. canescens (Fireweed)



 Plantae – Plants



 Tracheobionta – Vascular plants



 Spermatophyta – Seed plants



 Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants



 Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons









 Onagraceae – Evening Primrose family



 Chamerion Raf. ex Holub – fireweed



 Chamerion angustifolium (L.) Holub – fireweed



 Chamerion angustifolium (L.) Holub ssp. circumvagum (Mosquin) Hoch – fireweed

Fireweed is known as a pioneer plant because it is one of the first to move in after a fire or clear cut renders the ground bare. When its reclamation work is done, it dies out as conifers and other forest species fill in.

This pioneering behaviour is often given as the origin of the plant's common name. Another explanation could be that when Fireweed blooms it looks like a valley on fire!

It is common to see large patches reaching up to 10’ among brambles.

Fireweed is found across North America and is extremely hardy, USDA zones 1-9.

The flower spikes open from the bottom up and can be subtle rose pink to vibrant magenta in color.

After bloom has finished, the seed pods open to release white fluffy substance designed to let the wind carry the seeds to new areas, thus spreading the species. In the garden, the spent flower stems can be cut back to the foliage where new, smaller flower stems will grow up to give a second bloom.

This is not a difficult flower to grow given adequate sunlight and plenty of space to grow. Adding a handful of wood ash in the planting hole is a tradition among old time gardeners and the plants seem to thrive on it.

Photo, right, credit: Zeynel Cebeci

Fireweed is the floral emblem of the Yukon. Some natives in that region say you can tell how hard the winter will be by how high the plant blooms.

Fireweed honey: Different plants give the honey different flavors. This honey is light in color, with a nice buttery taste--a wonderful table honey.


Photo, left, credit:  Shyamal Norway; Photo, right, credit:  Friedrich Böhringer

Photo, right, credit:  AnRo0002

Photos, above, left to right:  Flower buds, credit: AnRo0002; Full bloom, credit:  Tamerlin Tatry; Last of the flowers, credit: 4028mdk09_2011; Seeds just beginning, credit: Commons Snežana Trifunović; Seeds closeup, credit:  Walter Siegmund

Photo, left, credit:  AnRo0002; Photo, right, credit:  AnRo0002

Photo, left, credit:  Benjamin Zwittnig; Photo, center, credit: Chris Gunns Castell Henllys, http://www.geograph.org, U.K.; Photo, right, credit:  Aphidoidea

Photo, left, credit:  Famartin, near the upper Jarbidge River Canyon in Nevada; Photo, center, credit:  Ianaré Sévi; Photo, right, credit:  Glacier NPS, Sinopah Mt.

Photo, left, credit: USFWS, Alaska; Photo, center, credit: Tifoultoute, Taylor Highway; Photo, right, credit:  kallerna

Photo, left, credit:  Friedrich Böhringer; Photo, center, credit:  Artem Topchiy; Photo, right, credit:  Dave Bevis, Calverley Bridge, http://www.geograph.org, UK

Photo, left, credit:  Unhindered by TalentNic McPhee, Denali National Park rail tracks; Photo, center, credit:  Famartin, Wildflowers along the northwest view down the upper Jarbidge River Canyon, Nevada; Photo, right, credit:  Σ64

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