Fireweed, Willow Herb
This tall, pinkish purple wildflower forms colonies along northern roadsides and in burned-over areas, but is also effective in wild gardens. Grows to 2–5 ft. tall and 1 1/2–3 ft. wide; narrow leaves to 10 in. long. Loose clusters of four-petaled pink, rose-purple, or white (‘Album’) flowers appear in early summer. Native to North America and Eurasia.
Fireweed is Alaska’s best known wildflower. In gardens, its wispy flower stalks show up best in wild borders against a backdrop of greenery. Flowers open gradually toward the top of the stem; each one is short-lived. Long narrow seedpods follow; they explode in a web of silky white hairs. For low-growing, red-flowering relatives, see Zauschneria.