Fireweed grows up to three metres tall. It has clusters of pink four-petaled flowers and long, green leaves growing out of a single tall stem.
RANGE & HABITAT
It is common in open forests and disturbed areas, especially burned sites and ditches. It likes to grow along riverbanks and forests across many parts of B.C., and is very common in northern areas.
Fireweed flowers throughout the summer, and the pink flowers change into seedpods full of hundreds of fluffy seeds. The ground can be covered in the fluff from fireweed seeds.
Many animals eat fireweed, and the young shoots are especially tasty to sheep and deer. Bees are important to pollinate fireweed, and they collect the nectar from the flowers in return.
TRADITIONAL FIRST NATIONS USES
First Nations peeled the shoots and ate them raw, some Inuit ate the roots raw, and other groups cooked and boiled the stems. The stem fibers were woven into fishing twine, and the fluff was used for bedding. The leaves were also put on sore spots to ease aches and pains.
The flowers are sometimes used for gardens, but they also produce nectar that makes good honey.
COSEWIC: Not at Risk