Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Playing with Fireweed

I think this poor man just stopped mowing his lawn.

Alright I love the dragon, I thought that was a great touch. I loves me a native plant as much as the next environmentalist but I don't like seeing masses of one plant. That said I know for a fact that this is an excellent nectar source for bees, as I've tasted Alaskan Fire Weed Honey before. Perhaps that's a clue though as to the nature of this plant. You see in order for honey to be given a name other than "Wildflower" 70% or more of it's contents has to have come from one type of plant. (Though I'd be interested to know if different types of apple trees make different tasting honey, hmm.) Some native plants just love to take over a patch or two. Sunflowers, for example, when planted in the right spot can take over. A few species grow beneath them of course but only ones that tolerate partial shade and they typically don't bloom at the same time. Height and flowering tend to go hand and hand.

That said I like the flowers to Epilobium angustifolium, Fireweed. They certainly demand some attention. The wonderland effect of their flying seeds is another thing to marvel at but at the same time I'm cringing a little. Of course this plant is only a weed where the mower can't reach. Dandelions are a weed because they can quickly flower and set seed between the average time people mow their lawn. Here Fireweed is at least good enough to only flower once a year. Dead heading it will keep it under control.