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Vick, Albert F. W.
Chamerion angustifolium ssp. angustifolium
Chamerion angustifolium (L.) Holub ssp. angustifolium
Fireweed, Narrow-leaf fireweed, Willow herb
Onagraceae (Evening-Primrose Family)
Synonym(s): Chamaenerion angustifolium, Chamerion angustifolium var. angustifolium, Chamerion spicatum, Epilobium angustifolium, Epilobium angustifolium var. intermedium, Epilobium spicatum
USDA Symbol: CHANA2
Narrow-leaf fireweed is a showy, clumped perennial, commonly growing 3-5 ft. tall. The erect stems are usually reddish, have numerous elongate, alternate leaves, and end in a tapering spike of rosy-purple flowers. Flowers have four petals and are 1 in. across. The seeds, which are windborne by a tuft of hairs, are produced in slender pods that open from the top downward.
Fireweed is a sun-loving plant that quickly invades burned out forests to form dense masses of color.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Leaf:
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug
, WY Canada: BC
, YT Native Distribution: AK
& sub-artic Canada, s. to MD,
mts. to NC
Black Hills, NM
& CA Native Habitat:
Dry clearings; burned woodlands; roadsides; low, wet places
Growing ConditionsWater Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Well-drained, moist to dry soils.
Conditions Comments: Fireweed can become weedy in a garden setting. It derives its name from the fact that it quickly invades burned out forests to form dense masses of color. This plant must have sun.
Butterflies, Bees Use Food:
Older stems have been split lengthwise to scrape out the soft, edible centre (pith) and to prepare the tough stem
fibres for making them into twine and fishnets. (Kershaw). The very young shoots and leaves can be eaten as cooked greens. (Niering) Conspicuous Flowers:
Plant seeds outside in fall. Seeds will germinate most quickly if soils are moist and warm. Seedlings will flower
the second year. Division is another propagation method. Seed Collection:
Approximate collection date in northern U.S.: Mid Aug. to Sep. Seed Treatment:
One month of stratification at 40 degrees may improve germination. Commercially Avail:
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
Record Last Modified: 2012-12-07
Research By: TWC Staff