But its mauve beauty makes it too lovely for the weed label, don't you think? Here in the Yukon, we treasure the fireweed, giving it the honor of being the official territorial flower. If you were to drive up the Alaska Highway during July, you couldn't help notice an abundance of these tall pinkish flowers growing along the sides of the highway.
In the photo above, snapped by oldest son in Kluane National Park this past weekend (click for larger viewing), only the blossoms along the bottom of the stalk are blooming. The blooms on fireweed start at the bottom and move upward toward the top as the summer progresses. Yukoners say that when the blossoms reach the top of the fireweed, summer is over, and that's a fairly accurate statement.
I've been told that honey made mostly from the nector of fireweed is especially delicious, but I've never tried it, so I can't vouch for that. Some people pick the very young shoots and leaves of the fireweed to use as salad greens or a cooked vegetable. I haven't tried that, either. I have tried fireweed tea, which is made from the dried leaves, and I found it rather bitter.
I think I'll skip the harvesting and continue to enjoy them for their simple pink beauty.
Previous related posts:
- Still Waiting for Green
- Before the Greening, the Lavender
- Into the Wild Blue
- The Blue Belles
- Pretty in Pink
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