The photo above shows a close-up view of the flowers of fireweed as seen at about 4050' along a logging road atop the ridge dividing the Cougar and Dairy Creek drainages at the southeastern corner of Mt. Adams..........July 10, 2005. Note the long white style with a 4-part stigma, with the stigma lobes coiled.
Fireweed is a handsome flowered, simple stemmed weed of disturbed places. Its rhizomatous roots help this perennial spread. It may attain a height of 3 meters. The herbage is glabrous to covered with fine, short hairs.
The leaves are alternateand found entirely on the stems. They are narrowly lanceolate, and subsessile, meauring to 15 cm in length with entire to lightly toothed margins.
The inflorescence is a terminal raceme of many flowers. Individual petals are rose to purple in color, though white individuals may occur. The petals may be from 8-20 mm long and are nearly as wide, the tips broadly rounded in shape. The 4 sepals are 7-16 mm long. The style is 1-2 cm long and is taller than the stamens. The capsule is 3-8 cm long with tufted seeds (See photo above.).
The species is an important plant for honey producers, and is useful as a pioneer plant for reconditioning disturbed soil, and is especially evident in areas previously burned by fire.
Fireweed is a wildflower of disturbed places, including highway and railroad embankments, disturbed fields, and clearcuts or old forest fire burns. It can be found from the lowlands upwards to subalpine areas.
Fireweed is found from Alaska south to California, and eastward to the Atlantic coast.
The photo above shows the general form of fireweed as seen along road #2329 at the East Fork Adams Creek on the northern slopes of Mt. Adams..........August 6, 2005.