Commonly known as a Northwest wildflower, Fireweed can be found growing in wild fields, on the sides of the road, and even in your backyard! With its beautiful pink and purple stocks, Fireweed is easily recognizable, and can be spotted almost anywhere in the United States.
Britannica.com remarks that it can grow up to 5 feet high, and got its name due to its ability to recover quickly after wildfires. Remarkably, it was one of the first plants that grew back after Mt. St. Helens erupted in 1980 according to the USDA.
Though it may look like a poisonous plant, like Lupine or Foxglove, it is far from being so. The flowers, young leaves, roots, and young stems can be consumed, though the roots tend to be bitter if not cooked as wildfoodsandmedicines.com suggests. Young shoots are full of vitamin C and can be cooked or steamed like asparagus, or eaten raw. Ediblewildfood.com points out that leaves and flowers can be added to salads for a unique and more natural appeal. Some recipes include Fireweed tea, syrup, jelly, and ice cream.
You can identify this plant by first looking for the pinkish purple, flowery stalks, which are tall and can easily be seen from a distance. Up close, the leaves are smooth, long, and oval-shaped, and in the fall, the flowers will go to seed, turning into a fibrous, gossamer cotton.