Prepared by Jennifer L. D’Appollonio, Assistant Scientist, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469. Updated April 2019.
Scientific name: Chamerion angustifolium (L.) Holub; old Epilobium angustifolium L.
Common name(s): fireweed, narrow-leaved fireweed, willow herb, great willow-herb, rosebay willowherb
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-generally flowers late spring through August in ME
-deep pink or rose colored flowers
- four spreading sepals
-may be confused with E. hirsutum or Lythrum salicaria; see left sidebar on Go Botany webpage
-widespread in northern climates
-burned or logged forests
- not waterlogged
- lakes and bog
-known to be a natural colonizer of oil spill sites, acidic coal spills and mine waste
-disperses by wind
-extensive root system
-wildlife foraging species
-can be a problem in perennial crops
-named after being found in burned areas
-can boil or steam the stems to eat
-can have a laxative effect
-used as an external medicine against eczema
Hansen, R.W., S.B. Hansen and E.A. Osgood. 1991. Reproductive phenologies of selected flowering plants in eastern Maine forests. ME Agric. Exp. Station Tech. Bull. 143. 17 pp.
Heinrich, B. 1976. Flowering phenologies: Bog, woodland, and disturbed habitats. Ecology. 57(5):890-899.
USDA. “FIREWEED Chamerion Angustifolium Holub.” Natural REsource Conservation Service- Plant Guide, United States Department of Agriculture, 2016, plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/pg_chan9.pdf.