The flower showing off in abundance this week is the fireweed. A common late summer flower in Minnesota, it is flaming in the ditches everywhere (well, almost). From a distances the flower groups do look like pink/purple flames blowing in the breeze. Up close, they are delicate looking flowers that are a popular hangout for many honey bees, dragonflies, butterflies and other insects. (click images for full-sized version). It grows best in areas that have been recently cleared or burned and it seems to thrive near areas of moisture found in the ditches along wooded roads.
Fireweed is the only type of fire Smokey Bear is okay with. In honor of Smokey’s 70th birthday this weekend (August 9th)… Remember.
Only YOU Can Prevent Forest Fires!
The fireweed is blooming…. from a distance it is a bright, beautiful brush of color along the edges of the forest, roads, lakes and rivers. I find them very pretty. Sometimes I wish I knew who had the privilege of naming things so that I could register my complaints.
Fireweed is a “flower” not a “weed” and it is definitely not the color of fire (it is a pink/lilac color) … so, where is there any logic in its name? I had to find out more about fireweed ….
My research …(wikipedia – the quick source)
- It is named fireweed because it is one of the first plants to grow after a forest fire.
- It is considered an herb and is eatable although bitter if not harvested at the right time and prepared properly.
- In the past, it has been used as a topical treatment for pus-filled wounds.
- Young shoots were often used in salads and the leaves in making teas.
- Currently, in Alaska it is used to make candies, syrups, jellies and even ice cream. The honey made by mostly fireweed nectar has a unique spiced flavor.