FIREWEED … magnificent all-purpose plant pioneer

How Does a Forest Fire Show the Basics of Ecological Succession and Personal Grief Survival?

  • Its seeds can lie dormant for many years, awaiting the warmth necessary for germination.
  • It can rapidly spread its rhizomes or creeping roots that grow a few inches horizontally underground from buds that produce new shoots growing upwards.
  • It can grow 1 to 6 feet, even as tall as 9 feet with tapers of flowers.
  • Pink colored flowers produce seeds as fine wispy tufts for easy wind dispersal.
  • Soon enough, roots and seeds proliferate everywhere accumulating more humus.
  • As it grows, it is a supermarket for insects, birds and animals. Young shoots are especially tasty to rabbits, sheep and deer. Muskrats, chipmunks and even marmots, moose, elk make a diet.
  • It is especially beneficial to butterflies who feed from its nectar and pollen during the day, and the moths at night.
  • A variety of bees drink the early spring nectar to make honey and help to pollinate the plant further. It can also attract hummingbirds and other birds to feed on the bugs.
  1. Climate change can play a major role in which kind of plants or trees will return to the landscape. Even years later, higher temperatures and decreased precipitation can compromise a forest’s chances of full recovery.
  2. Forest fires can be considered a natural and necessary part of the ecosystem. It is an opportunity to remove clutter like dead trees, old logs, dense undergrowth, and hardened decayed plant matter to return as ashes and add more nutrients to make more fertile soil for new plants.

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