fire·​weed | \ˈfī(-ə)r-ˌwēd \

Definition of fireweed 

: any of several plants that grow especially in clearings or burned districts: such as

a : a weedy annual composite (Erechtites hieraciifolia synonym E. hieraciifolius) of eastern North America having flower heads of whitish tubular disk flowers enveloped by green bracts

b : a tall perennial (Epilobium angustifolium) of the evening-primrose family that has long spikes of pinkish-purple flowers and is an important honey plant in some areas

called also willow herb

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Did You Know?

This is a perennial wildflower of the evening primrose family. Its spikes of whitish to magenta flowers, which grow up to 5 ft (1.5 m) high, are a spectacular sight on prairies of the temperate zone. Its seeds can lie dormant for many years, awaiting the warmth necessary for germination. Fireweed is one of the first plants to appear after a forest or brush fire; it also rapidly covers scrub or woodland areas that have been cleared by machine. It has limited use in wild gardens, where it must be carefully checked and confined.

Examples of fireweed in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Spruce trees, willows and fireweed should not be mysteries. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, "Teach your children well — take them outside (and leave the phones inside)," 29 Jan. 2018 It's been an age-old adage among many fishermen that when the fireweed top out, the silver salmon are hitting their peak. Alaska Dispatch News, "Readers write: Letters to the editor, July 24, 2017," 24 July 2017 Can someone who might have scientific knowledge of the subject please proffer a theory about what is going on with the fireweed this season? Alaska Dispatch News, "Readers write: Letters to the editor, July 24, 2017," 24 July 2017 The forest floor was nearly bare, except for clumps of charcoal and a few short stems of bracken fern and fireweed, a hot pink flower whose seeds often blow in and germinate just after a conflagration. Madeline Ostrander, Smithsonian, "The National Parks Face a Looming Existential Crisis," 14 Sep. 2017 From time to time the fireweed season is a weak one. Jeff Lowenfels, Alaska Dispatch News, "Jeff Lowenfels answers your only-in-Alaska yard and garden questions," 14 July 2017 Nearly every tree had been stripped from the land by the time of the park’s founding, carted away for lumber or fireweed. Scott Garner,, "Neighborhood Spotlight: Elysian Park is part of the infield but plays with a laid-back style," 14 July 2017 Three riders finished the most daunting race — about 400 miles from Sheep Mountain to Valdez and back — in the 15th Fireweed last weekend, when Anthony Berberich and Christina Grande earned the men's and women's victories, respectively. Alaska Dispatch News, "Cyclists Berberich, Grande capture titles in Fireweed’s most brutal event," 12 July 2017 Meanwhile mountain bouquets of aster, fireweed, lupine and glacier lily enthrall at every turn. Hotel Bellwether, The Seattle Times, "4 Bellingham hikes: Water, wildflowers, rainforest and raptors," 30 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fireweed.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of fireweed

1764, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of fireweed was in 1764

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to express warning or disapproval

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