Fireweed – Blooming Near You Today

fireweedFireweed is a magnificent flower that grows in the Rocky Mountains.  I love seeing a few of these beautiful wildflowers standing tall and proud.

I always recommend that when you are attempting to learn wildflowers you start with one at a time.  Fireweed was one of the first flowers that I learned to identify in the field.  I chose it because I often came across it on my hikes in the Rockies and it is beautiful.  Here are some fun facts about this magnificent flower.

The Basics of Fireweed

This flower is a summer bloomer, blooming from June to August.  That also happens to be a prime time to be out exploring the mountains.

It grows quite tall, between 3 and 6 feet.

fireweed, common wildflowers rocky mountains

Notice the flowers are towards the bottom. The flowers higher up on the stem have not yet bloomed.

The flowers are tall spires at the top of tall stems.  Flowers have four petals.   They begin blooming low down on the stem and gradually work their way up towards the top.

This common wildflower of the Rocky Mountains blooms in a pink to purple color.

The seeds release from seed pods and appear to be tiny tufts of white that easily float in the wind.

The seeds disperse by the wind and hopefully land in a good spot where they can grow into new plants.

fireweed

Photo via Flickr.

Where Does It Grow Or May You See It?

It tends to grow well in disturbed areas, such as after clear cuts, avalanches, or along river beds.  You may also see it growing alongside roads.  It can usually be seen in open, sunny areas.

You can find it growing at a wide range of elevations from foothills all the way up to the subalpine zone – near the tree line.

fireweed

Photo via Flickr.

Special Notes About Fireweed

It gets pollinated by bees and hummingbirds.  They are attracted to the bright pink and purple flowers and love to collect the nectar.

Fireweed is a pioneer plant as you will often see it as one of the first plants growing in disturbed areas.

Native Americans used to eat the leaves like a salad.  Additionally, the young shoots were eaten kind of like asparagus.

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