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Chamerion angustifolium (L.) Holub

Fireweed

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassRosidaeRoses, legumes, proteas, dogwoods, hydrangeas, mistletoes, euphorbias, grapes, many more
OrderMyrtalesIncludes myrtles, leadwoods, loosestrifes, pomegranates, evening primroses, many others
FamilyOnagraceaeWillowherb/evening primrose family
GenusChamerionFrom the Greek chamai, “dwarf,” and nerion, “oleander,” this is apparently a name that has replaced the invalid name Chamaenerion published by Seguier in 1754
SpeciesangustifoliumHaving narrow foliage

About plant names...

Fireweed is a North American native plant. It is a robust colonizer of newly exposed land, such as that left behind from forest fires, and can carpet huge areas with its brilliant pink flowers.

Plants: 20-98" (50-250 cm) in height, with a single, erect stem that reddens later in the season, sometimes branching to multiple flower spikes.

Leaves: Leaves are 2½-6" (7-15 cm) long, with smooth edges, and are long and narrow, tapering to sharp tips. The leaf veins form distinctive circular loops.

Flowers: Flower spikes are 4-10" (10-25 cm) long, with pink flowers about ½" (1.3 cm) in diameter, each with four petals.

Fruits: Seed pods are reddish-brown, about 1½" (3.8 cm) long, splitting and curling when dry to expose silken fibers and about 80,000 seeds per plant.

Fireweed has a dwarf sibling with similar-appearing flowers:

 

Chamerion angustifolium (fireweed)

8/26/2007 · Fogarty Creek, Lincoln City, Ore­gon
≈ 17 × 12" (44 × 29 cm)

Chamerion angustifolium (fireweed)

9/27/2013 · Gordon and Kathy’s, Prospect, Maine
≈ 19 × 12" (47 × 31 cm)

Chamerion angustifolium (fireweed)

8/16/2014 · White Mountains, New Hamp­shire
≈ 12 × 8" (31 × 21 cm)

  You are here
Chamerion angustifolium
Common Name

fireweed
Plant 20-98" (50-250 cm) in height, with a single, erect stem that reddens later in the season, sometimes branching to multiple flower spikes.
Flowers Flower spikes are 4-10" (10-25 cm) long, with pink flowers about ½" (1.3 cm) in diameter, each with four petals.
Leaves 2½-6" (7-15 cm) long, with smooth edges, and are long and narrow, tapering to sharp tips. The leaf veins form distinctive circular loops.
Fruit Seed pods are reddish-brown, about 1½" (3.8 cm) long, splitting and curling when dry to expose silken fibers and about 80,000 seeds per plant.
Range/ Zones

USDA Zones: 2-7
Habitats Newly exposed land, such as that left behind from forest fires
Type Wild

 

Edibility: Although young shoots and flowers are edible, young plants are easily confused with several highly toxic members of the lily family, so we don’t recommend that you experiment.

Online References:

Chamerion angustifolium at Illinois Wildflowers

Chamerion angustifolium at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Chamerion angustifolium on troymullens.wordpress.com

Chamerion angustifolium on Wikipedia

Chamerion angustifolium at the Vanderbilt University Bioimages web site

Chamerion angustifolium on the USDA Forest Service's Fire Effects Information Database

Chamerion angustifolium on SEINet—the Southwest Environmental Information Network

Chamerion angustifolium (fireweed)

7/15/2012 · Fort Point State Park, Stockton Springs, Maine
≈ 17 × 12" (44 × 29 cm)

Chamerion angustifolium (fireweed)

7/15/2012 · Fort Point State Park, Stockton Springs, Maine
≈ 18 × 21" (46 × 54 cm)

Chamerion angustifolium (fireweed)

9/1/2007 · Mt. St. Helens, Wash­ington
≈ 17 × 12" (44 × 29 cm)

Chamerion angustifolium (fireweed)

8/2/2008 · Bar Harbor, Maine
≈ 7 × 6" (18 × 14 cm)

Chamerion angustifolium (fireweed)

7/15/2012 · Fort Point State Park, Stockton Springs, Maine
≈ 9 × 14" (23 × 35 cm)

Chamerion angustifolium (fireweed)

7/15/2012 · Fort Point State Park, Stockton Springs, Maine
≈ 5 × 3½" (13 × 9.2 cm)

Chamerion angustifolium (fireweed)

8/16/2014 · White Mountains, New Hamp­shire
≈ 4 × 4" (10 × 10 cm)

Chamerion angustifolium (fireweed)

8/25/2007 · Tillamook State Forest, Ore­gon
≈ 12 × 8" (29 × 19 cm)

Chamerion angustifolium (fireweed)

8/16/2014 · White Mountains, New Hamp­shire
≈ 10 × 15" (25 × 37 cm)

 

Chamerion angustifolium description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 31 Aug 2021.

© FloraFinder.org. All rights reserved.


 

Chamerion angustifolium (fireweed)

7/15/2012 · Fort Point State Park, Stockton Springs, Maine
≈ 6 × 9" (15 × 23 cm)

Chamerion angustifolium (fireweed)

8/16/2014 · White Mountains, New Hamp­shire
≈ 12 × 8" (31 × 21 cm)

Chamerion angustifolium (fireweed)

8/16/2014 · White Mountains, New Hamp­shire
≈ 8 × 5" (19 × 12 cm)

Chamerion angustifolium (fireweed)

9/2/2007 · Ore­gon
≈ 7 × 4½" (17 × 11 cm)

Chamerion angustifolium (fireweed)

9/20/2009 · Wild Gardens of Acadia, Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Maine
≈ 8 × 10" (20 × 26 cm)

Chamerion angustifolium (fireweed)

7/15/2012 · Fort Point State Park, Stockton Springs, Maine
≈ 6 × 4½" (15 × 11 cm)

Chamerion angustifolium (fireweed)

11/18/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Pepperell, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 9 × 6" (22 × 14 cm)

Chamerion angustifolium (fireweed)

9/20/2009 · Wild Gardens of Acadia, Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Maine
≈ 10 × 14" (26 × 34 cm)

Chamerion angustifolium (fireweed)

9/27/2013 · Gordon and Kathy’s, Prospect, Maine
≈ 11 × 7" (28 × 18 cm)

Range: Zones 2-7:

About this map...