Epilobium angustifolium (Fireweed)
|Also known as:||Rosebay, Great Willowherb|
|Family:||Onagraceae (Evening Primrose)|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; moist soil, woodland edges and clearings, along shores|
|Bloom season:||June - August|
|Plant height:||3 to 7 feet|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||none|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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A spike-like cluster at the top of the stem and the ends of branching stems in the upper part of the plant. Flowers are about 1 inch across with 4 paddle-shaped pink to purplish petals alternating with 4 narrow darker sepals that are shorter than the petals, 8 long white stamens with purple to brownish tips, and a white style, longer than the stamens, divided and curled at the tip. Behind the flower is a long slender purplish ovary that resembles the short flower stalk. A cluster blooms from the bottom up, the buds typically angled downward, flowers facing outward, and ripening fruit angled up to nearly erect.
Leaves and stem:
Fireweed commonly goes by Latin name Chamerion angustifolium but the accepted name in Minnesota is Epilobium angustifolium. There are 2 varieties in North America: var. angustifolium and var. canescens, both of which are found in Minnesota though var. canescens is uncommon—it is generally a larger plant and more hairy, its leaves have distinct venation and a short stalk.
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Photos by K. Chayka taken at Itasca State Park and in Aitkin and Lake counties. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Cass, Itasca and Aitkin counties.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?