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Fireweed

Fireweed

Epilobium angustifolium

Description

This plant grows up to 1.8 meters tall. It has large, showy, pink flowers and lance-shaped leaves. Its relative, the dwarf fireweed (Epilobium latifolium), grows 30 to 60 centimeters tall.

Habitat and Distribution

Tall fireweed is found in open woods, on hillsides, on stream banks, and near seashores in arctic regions. It is especially abundant in burned-over areas.

Dwarf fireweed is found along streams, sandbars, and lakeshores and on alpine and arctic slopes.

Edible Parts

The leaves, stems, and flowers are edible in the spring but become tough in summer. You can split open the stems of old plants and eat the pith raw.

Steve's notes:

Fireweed is a good plant to know because it is so widespread. It is especially common in burned-over areas, hence the name.

The leaves are used to make tea.

Some tribes used the fiber from fireweed stems to make cord, and fishnets.



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The Ultralight Backpacking Site | Fireweed