fire·​weed | \ ˈfī(-ə)r-ˌwēd How to pronounce fireweed (audio) \

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

Observe these majestic creatures from a safe range, and photograph their white coats against the magenta fireweed that blankets the tundra each summer. National Geographic, "Canadian Arctic High School Expedition," 12 June 2019 In Yao’s second piece, The impossibility of being outside, fireweed—an invasive flowering plant—is allowed to proliferate. Marley Marius, Vogue, "At the Honolulu Biennial, Artist Amy Yao Examines Environments and Identity (With the Help of Some Algae)," 12 Mar. 2019 By midsummer, though, shoots of lupine and fireweed were peeking through the ground. Richard B. Woodward, WSJ, "‘Ansel Adams in Our Time’ Review: Reconsidering a Mountainous Career," 12 Dec. 2018 The standing charred trees, called snags, tower over a forest floor carpeted with lupine, fireweed, wild strawberries, pinegrass, sedges and other plants. Kristen Pope, Discover Magazine, "Wildfire Engulfed Yellowstone 30 Years Ago. Its Recovery Could Predict The Future of the West," 12 Nov. 2018 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

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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Last Updated

12 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for fireweed

The first known use of fireweed was in 1764

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fireweed Encyclopedia article about fireweed

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