Fireweed is an iconic Alaskan wildflower that brightens the landscape all across the state with its vivid pink blooms and tall stature. Often spotted covering large meadows and mountainsides, this flower thrives in areas that recently experienced fire, such as along the Sterling Highway on the Kenai Peninsula, due to its deep underground root system.
These wildflowers range in size, from one foot all the way up to nine feet tall! The blooms of the flower form at the top of the stalk. At the beginning of the summer, each cluster of petals is closed and then gradually opens from the bottom up; when the flowers are open all the way to the top, we know that another summer is winding down in our beautiful state. This floral marker of the passage of summer is a lovely reminder to slow down and enjoy the natural world around us.
Fireweed is frequently harvested and turned into delicious jam and jellies, made into ice cream, and used in herbal tea blends. Many Alaskans incorporate fireweed into their gardens and landscaping, as honeybees are attracted to the numerous flowers and help pollinate other fruit blossoms. The rich, spicy honey is also a favorite for locals.
Fireweed can be seen throughout the summer in its different stages of bloom on all of our Alaska trips, from the Kenai Peninsula to Denali National Park!
Read more about this amazing wildflower at the U.S. Forest Service website and from our friends at voyij.com and alaska.org.