Stem. - Four to seven feet high. Leaves. - Scattered, lance-shaped, willow-like. Flowers. - Purplish-pink, large, in a long raceme. Calyx. - Four-cleft. Corolla. - Of four petals. Stamens. - Eight. Pistil. - One, with a four-lobed stigma.
In midsummer this striking plant begins to mass its deep-hued blossoms along the roadsides and low meadows. It is supposed to flourish with especial abundance in land that has newly been burned over; hence, its common name of fireweed. Its willow-like foliage has given it its other English title. The likeness between the blossoms of this plant and those of the evening primrose betray their kinship. When the stamens of the fireweed first mature and discharge their pollen the still immature style is curved backward and downward with its stigmas closed. Later it straightens and lengthens to its full dimensions, so spreading its four stigmas as to be in position to receive the pollen of another flower from the visiting bee.
Plate LXXVI. Fireweed. - E. angustifolium