The First Nations believe that Fireweed originated after a young maiden rescued her lover from an enemy camp. She set fire to the far end of an enemy’s camp to cause a diversion to rescue her lover from torture. She untied him and fled with the enemy giving chase. The Great Spirit took pity on her. Wherever her moccasins touched the ground, great flames shot up. This soon turned her pursuers back. Eventually, the flames turned into brilliant fireweed flowers. (adapted from: Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Rocky Mountains and Neighbouring Territories, Terry Willard PhD)
Fireweed is one of the first plants to sprout after a fire.
bears LOVE it…
and we have many uses for it as well:
Food Source (best when plant is young)
- Wild Asparagus -stalk is cooked like asparagus
- Flower petals in salads
- Saute the young leaves
- Dried leaves used as green tea
- Roasted leaves are used for black tea
- Honey – beekeepers will bring their hives to the flowers: very good & expensive, I tried it and love it!
- Silky hair on the seedpod –is an excellent source for starting fires
- Survival food- high in Beta-carotene and Vitamin C
In the form of a tea, can help with the healing or relief of:
- Mouth irritations i.e. cankers
- Intestinal astringent
- Colon troubles – enema for children
A poultice or ointment, made from the roots, can help with:
The next time you look at a purple blanket of fireweed covering the landscape, think of it as more than a picture perfect moment, think of the many uses this plant has.