Montana Outdoors

August 29, 2008

Fireweed 2

I can’t let summer pass without featuring Fireweed, Chamerion angustifolium. It’s a beautiful and prolific flower and because it is one of the first plants to start the regeneration of the natural surroundings after a forest fire, it always signifies to me the hope for and the expectation of something better and more beautiful to come.

With the exception of the last photo, which was taken along trail 345 to Bighole Peak, these photos were taken near the start of the trail into the Reservation Divide roadless area.





7395 August 2008 Fireweed closeup


  1. Oooh so pretty…the flowers seem so exotic. Nice photography!


    Comment by Tabbie — August 29, 2008 @ 11:26 pm

  2. it’s beautiful all right ! very beautiful!


    Comment by Sumedh — August 30, 2008 @ 1:20 am

  3. Tabbie,

    “Exotic” is really a good word for them. They represent a real contrast, growing now on an open ridge that in the year 2000 was the scene of flames shooting a hundred feet into the air as they burned through the forest, hot enough, one would think, to sterilize everything around. Now the trees that survived are bright green again, new ones are knee high and the flowers grace the open areas and advertise the prospect of nature restoring the whole area to what it used to be.


    Comment by montucky — August 30, 2008 @ 8:24 am

  4. Sumedh,

    So many of the wildflowers here, especially in spring and early summer, are quite small and delicate. These are some of the last to be in bloom and are tall and showy and give a great contrast to the mass of green. Every year I look forward to seeing them!


    Comment by montucky — August 30, 2008 @ 8:27 am

  5. Being color blind I can never see this stuff when I’m driving through Yellowstone and everyone in the car is exclaiming, “Look at the fireweed!”

    Thanks for showing it to me.


    Comment by Pinhole — August 30, 2008 @ 9:13 am

  6. It is, as the others have mentioned, a beautiful and delicate flower. Such strong color!

    It was your first sentence, though, that made me take a step back, “I can’t let summer pass …” It seems like it was just yesterday that we were all looking forward to summer life!

    Is it already Fall?


    Comment by Janet Wilkins — August 30, 2008 @ 9:41 am

  7. I’ve always known Fireweed as Epilobium, but lately I see it now known as Chamerion. Does anyone know when the name was changed?


    Comment by Chris — August 30, 2008 @ 12:45 pm

  8. Pinhole,

    It does have a distinctive shape. I first detect it by color because it has a distinctive shade of color, but the real positive ID is by its size, shape, structure and the exact places were it appears.


    Comment by montucky — August 30, 2008 @ 3:44 pm

  9. Almost, Janet, at least here. On a trip into the high country on the 21st I saw snow on a couple of rock slides, and the forecast for the next several days includes possible snow above 5,500 feet. Our nights are mostly in the 40’s now.

    As you mentioned though, it seems as though no time has passed since we first declared that summer was here. Our summer this year was quite mild (we only had one day of 100 degrees) and no major wildfires in this area, and I would love to have it stay around longer.


    Comment by montucky — August 30, 2008 @ 3:51 pm

  10. Chris,

    I sure don’t know. I see that the USDA website and the Smithsonian list it as chamerion, but other sites still show it as epilobium. There’s an explanation of sorts HERE.


    Comment by montucky — August 30, 2008 @ 4:00 pm

  11. Yep, you found a couple of truckloads of it. Very splashy, showy plant when it’s profuse like this.



    Comment by knightofswords — September 1, 2008 @ 3:05 pm

  12. Yes, it’s very showy. This area burned in 2000 and the fireweed is still spreading. This year it’s prettier than usual because of the cooler summer we’ve had.


    Comment by montucky — September 1, 2008 @ 7:54 pm

  13. Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.


    Comment by sandrar — September 10, 2009 @ 7:15 am

    • Thank you for visiting and taking the time to comment, Sandra!


      Comment by montucky — September 10, 2009 @ 10:19 pm

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