Fireweed

The Nature of the Hills

Epilobium angustifolium, also Chamerion angustifolium

Other common names: Great Willowherb, Rosebay Willowherb(GB), Blooming Sally, and Common, Perennial and Narrow-Leaved Fireweed

Fireweed is the floral emblem of the Yukon.
It grows throughout the temperate Northern Hemisphere.
Fireweed grows in my gardens.
I let it.
It’s beautiful.

The forty or so years since the forest was cleared to build my neighbourhood has not been enough to discourage this stalwart troop of botanical disaster relief. In fact generations would not be enough, as London discovered when firewood appeared to console and heal the (destroyed) city after World War II. It became known then as ‘Bombweed’ since it speedily transformed bomb craters into sunken gardens.

My garden is disturbed ground. A pioneer species, Fireweed appears wherever the earth has been scraped, or especially burned, leaving exposed soil and an open canopy letting in lots of light. Its rhizomes can extend to about 45 cm…

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