Fireweed - Great Willowherb (Chamaenerion angustifolium) Rosebay Willowherb Great Willowherb Wildflowers Herb
Height 4-6 ft/ up to 9 ft
Known in North America as Fireweed, in Canada as Great Willowherb, in Britain and Ireland as Rosebay Willowherb. Also known as Adelfilla, Blood Vine, Blooming Sally, Bouquet Rouge, Chamaenerion angustifolium, Chamerion angustifolium, Épilobe, Épilobe en Épi, Épilobe à Feuilles Étroites, Epilobio, Epilobium angustifolium, Epilobium spicatum, Flowering Willow, French Willow, Great Willowherb, Herbe de San Antonio, Laurier de San Antonio, Persian Willow, Purple Rocket, Rose Bay Willow, Rosebay Willow, Tame Withy, Wickup, Wicopy, and Willow Herb. Fireweed forms cottony seeds in thin seed pods that are dispersed by the wind.
Fireweed is a tall showy wildflower that grows from sea level to the subalpine zone, and is a colorful sight as it thrives in open meadows, along streams, roadsides, and forest edges. In some places, this species is so abundant that it can carpet entire meadows with brilliant pink flowers. Fireweed is in the Evening Primrose family, and forms a limited number of shoots in the spring which you can pluck out to limit its spread. If you dig up the sprouts they will not bloom until the following year. The parts of the fireweed plant that grow above ground are used to make medicine however, all parts of fireweed are edible; young leaves can be eaten raw in salads or sautéed in a stir fry alone and with other greens.
Flowers and buds make a beautiful garnish and can be used to make fireweed jelly.
Fireweed is used for pain and swelling (inflammation), migraines, fevers, stomach ulcers, tumors, wounds, and enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia, BPH) and for prevention of prostate cancers. It is also used as an astringent and as a tonic. The root can be roasted after scraping off the outside, but often tastes bitter. To mitigate this, the root is collected before the plant flowers and the brown thread in the middle removed. Flower stalks can be consumed raw or cooked and are used when the flowers are in bud.
- Full sun to part shade
- Moist well-drained soil
- Start indoors; sow in pots and cover seeds with fine soil - water from the bottom or spray with a fine mist. Do not sit the pot in hot sun and ensure the pot is cooler at night. Plant out when the weather is warm but not too hot.
- Seed Count: approx 25
- Collect Fireweed plants
- Remove the leaves and smash them with your hands.
- Let this ferment for 2 days in a glass jar.
- Dry in this in the oven for 20 minutes.
- Place a small amount in a cup and add hot water.
- Brew for a delicious and healthy beverage!
- Tastes similar to black tea, only with a fruity, almost pineapple-like aroma… No caffeine. Add some honey and a little cream.