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Fireweed, Narrow-leaf fireweed, Willow Herb, Rosebay Willow Herb, Blooming Sally - Chamerion angustifolium


Family: Onagraceae - Evening Primrose family Genus Common Name: Fireweed Native Status: NativeDicot Perennial Herb
Chamerion angustifolium - Fireweed, Narrow-leaf fireweed, Willow Herb, Rosebay Willow Herb, Blooming Sally. Chamerion - Fireweed - has two species - C. angustifolium and C. latifolium, the latter being Dwarf Fireweed, a much shorter plant, with distribution in the US being primarily in the west. C. angustifolium on may grow to 10 feet tall, and one of the two subspecies can be found in every state except for 12 states in the southeastern quadrant of the United States. C. angustifolium ssp. angustifolium is a more northern plant than ssp. circumvagum, with ssp. angustifolium being found only in the northern counties of MN, in Washington State, and in the mountainous states of Montana, Colorado, and Wyoming. It is also found in all of the Canadian provinces.

Found in:
AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, IA, ID, IL, IN, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SD, TN, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY

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Chamerion angustifolium

Distribution of Chamerion angustifolium in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2017. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 13 Dec 2017). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

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Site: Split Rock Lighthouse, Lake County, MN Date: 2002-August-03Photographer: Gerald C. Williamson
Sony
The blossom of Fireweed looks very similar to the Gaura that I know, with 4 petals, which are pink in Fireweed, and 4 pretty sepals. In Gaura, however, the sepals are usually heavily reflexed, sometimes all the way back against the pedicel, while in Fireweed, the sepals are not reflexed, and sometimes in fact fold forward between the petals. Both plants also have the 4-lobed stigma, which is a characteristic of many species in Onagraceae - the Evening Primrose family.

Not only are the petals and sepals beautiful shades of pink, the seed capsules, up to 3 inches long, are a shade of pink as well, making for a very striking plant.

This is C. angustifolium ssp. angustifolium.
Chamerion angustifolium

Site: Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Lake Kekekabic, Lake County, MN Date: 2012-September-05Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
Click on the photo for a larger image
Chamerion angustifolium

Site: Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Lake Kekekabic, Lake County, MN Date: 2012-September-05Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
Click on the photo for a larger image
Chamerion angustifolium

Site: Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Lake Kekekabic, Lake County, MN Date: 2012-September-05Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
Click on the photo for a larger image
Chamerion angustifolium

Site: Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Lake Kekekabic, Lake County, MN Date: 2012-September-05Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
Click on the photo for a larger image
Chamerion angustifolium

Site: Rocky Mountain National Park, Larimer County, CO Date: 2016-August-26Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
Click on the photo for a larger image
Chamerion angustifolium

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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2017
Photographs Copyright owned by the named photographer