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

Keep scrolling for more

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 Yellow aspen lit up the valley, dotted with blazing late-season fireweed. Alli Harvey, Anchorage Daily News, 3 Oct. 2020 Off in the distance, past the fireweed and haphazard wildflowers, bright flashes of white caught the sunlight. Hillary Richard, New York Times, 11 May 2020 Alpine meadows burst with blossoms and colors including yellow rhododendron, purple mountain heather, pink azaleas, fuchsia fireweeds, and the white stars of the eschscholtz starwort. Eva Sohlman, New York Times, 7 Oct. 2019 Her peonies prematurely finished their cycle, the summer lilies are flowering and the fireweed is nearly finished blooming. Author: Lauren Ellenbecker, Anchorage Daily News, 25 July 2019 Wild greens such as fiddlehead, fireweed, nettle, seaweed and sourdock are also high in fiber. Anchorage Daily News, 3 Sep. 2019 Fast-growing fireweed and other flowers cover recent burn scars. Nancy Fresco, The Conversation, 14 Aug. 2019 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, 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, 12 Mar. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of fireweed

1764, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About fireweed

Time Traveler for fireweed

Time Traveler

The first known use of fireweed was in 1764

See more words from the same year

Statistics for fireweed

Cite this Entry

“Fireweed.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jun. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on fireweed Encyclopedia article about fireweed


Test Your Vocabulary

Return of Name that Color!

  • a light greenish blue color
  • Name that color:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!