|Photo by L.Elrod|
(Epilobium angustifolium- Evening Primrose Family)
Edible and medicinal value: The Fireweed, also called the Great Willow-Herb, has an abundance of vitamin C and was used by Indians and settlers who picked and boiled the fresh green sprouts in springtime. A tea was also made from the leaves.
Indians and pioneers made an extract from boiled roots of the fireweed and placed it on swellings.
Habitat: Found in fairly rich soil in open woods and thickets as well as along streams. It is one of the first plants to invade disturbed soil such as in cultivation or forest fires. It is called Fireweed because of this ability to move in and cover up the scars of forest fires and also the flower's resemblance to a flame.
Description: Fireweed has its' 4-petaled flowers in an elongated flower cluster where the flowers bloom first at the bottom and work up the flowers bloom first at the bottom and work up the flower cluster. These flowers are bright pink to rose-colored. Leaves of the Fireweed are lance-shaped. Fireweed is a valuable forage plant for game species such as deer and elk. It is also a favorite forage of grizzly bears.