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September 26, 2013 / Fantelius

Rejoice, Thriving Epilobium (Chamerion) Angustifolium

This ”weed” has many common names such as Fireweed and Willowherb and is related to the sunflower family. It is usually portrayed in its flowering form, but beautifies its surroundings in every stage of its existence. Every part can by used from its roots to its silk-like seed capsules, which, by the way, can be woven into the most exquisite (but commercially impractical) cloth.

Fireweed is a pioneer species, often the first to colonize impoverished areas preparing the way for other vegetation. The early plant can enhance salads and the mature stem can be pealed and eaten raw. Besides being a rich souce of vitamins A and C it possesses extensive medical applications for both internal disorders and on open sores.

Its leaves are fascinating because the veins do not end at the leaf edge, but loop back in a circular fashion. No other plant exhibits this pattern. Fireweed seems to be a special gift to nature.

(See tomorrow’s Nirati on Weeds!)

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