Fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium)

Fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium), Dolly Sods Wilderness, Tucker County, West Virginia, USA

Fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium), Dolly Sods Wilderness

Fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium)

Fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium) is a member of the Onagraceae or Evening Primrose family.  It is a single stemmed perennial which grows between 3- and 10-feet tall with numerous, crowded, alternate, lance-shaped, sessile leaves, each of which is about 6-inches long and 1.2-inches wide.  The many magenta (sometimes white) tubular flowers are from 0.75- to 1.6-inches wide.  They occur along an elongated flower cluster with single flower stalks attached along the side of a common axis.  Each flower head has four egg-shaped petals and a stigma that is usually shaped like a cross.  The flower buds usually droop, but the reddish seedpods are ascending.  The Firewood is found in high elevations, usually in burned areas, hence the name.  It is found throughout North America and flowers between July and September.

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