Fireweed (Chamerion augustifolium)

Fireweed (Chamerion augustifolium) 

The Fireweed (Chamerion augustifolium or Epilobium augustifolium), also known as Great Willow-herb, is a forb/herb in the Evening Primrose Family (Onagraceae) and order Myrtales. The order name is from the Latin for "myrtle". The family name is from the Greek for oleander. The genus name, Chamerion, comes from the Greek for "on the ground" and Epilobium is Greek for "upon a capsule." The species name is Latin for "narrow leaf."  This plant can grow to six feet (180 centimeters). Each pink flower is about one inch (2.54 centimeters) wide, has four, spreading petals and eight stamens with four-parted stigma. It flowers from July to September.

The leaves are stalkless,  lance-shaped, up to eight inches (20 centimeters) long and alternately arranged along a single, reddish-brown stem.

The fruit is a three-inch (7.5 centimeter) capsule containing seeds with white, silky down attached. The seeds can become airborne and travel some distance.

The root system is simple.

The name of this plant derives from its tendency to propagate after a fire. The shoots and leaves can be cooked and eaten. Bees are attracted to this plant's nectar.

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