Fireweed is pretty amazing stuff. It ranges throughout North America, from coast to coast and border to border in both the US and Canada, skipping only the southeastern quadrant, from Texas down through Florida. It grows at sea level, and thrives all the way up to the sub-alpine zones. It’s hardy as the dickens and useful, as medicine, as well as food for both animals and people (the green shoots aren't half bad, and they're rich in Vitamin C). It’s called fireweed, not because of the flaming color, but because it’s often the first plant to reappear in the burned ground after a forest fire. Fireweed is an opportunist: it does best in disturbed soil, such as road cuts, so in those areas where the plant is most prolific, including northwestern Canada and the State of Alaska, fireweed lines at least a portion of every highway in a showy display that lasts from June all the way to September. Visualize a summertime journey through that part of the world, a world filled with mountains and glaciers and boreal forests, ice blue rivers, turquoise lakes, and billowing clouds that fill the sky. Imagine your vision as a beautiful piece of music. The fundamental, underlying theme of that symphony would be a gently rising swell of perfect harmony, pinkish lavender in its hue. If you'd like to see a slideshow that illustrates what I'm attempting to describe, click here for a view of my best fireweed photos.
As a veteran of many a road trip, wildflowers in general are what you might call a perennial favorite of mine. So, in honor of spring: if anyone else out there has a favorite wildflower, a favorite route for the viewing of wildflowers, or a good road trip recollection involving--you guessed it--wildflowers? Share it with the rest of us on this thread.