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Monday, July 24, 2017




Monday, 8:00 AM.  57 degrees F at the ferry dock, 57 on the back porch.  Wind variable and calm.  The sky is overcast and cloudy, the humidity 100%.  The barometer is falling, predicting a chance of thunderstorms tomorrow and Wednesday.  The high today will be in the low 70's, rising to the mid-70's for the remainder of the week, with mostly clear skies,  Looks like nice weather ahead.
   I took Buddy for a run on the beach yesterday evening.  We hadn't gone to the beach for several weeks because there were always too many people.  Buddy overdid it and is limping around and feeling sorry for himself.
   Juneberries at the beach were ripe.  When blue-black they are as sweet as raisins.

   Fireweed, Epilobium angustifolium, in the evening primrose family (Onagraceae) is a circumboreal  perennial plant that typically occupies disturbed habitats, such as occur due to a fire, hence its common name. Chamerium angustifolium is a botanical synonym.  It is also called willow-herb (because of its long, narrow, willow-like leaves) as well as wicup.  It is often seen in large masses in fields and roadsides after a fire and can be very prominent in the landscape.  It is quite beautiful and blooms for a long time, the lower flowers on the flower spike blooming first, the ripe seed pods being as colorful as the flowers. The fluffy, cottony seeds are also very attractive.   It is native to most of the northern half of North America, and at elevation in the western mountains.
  All parts of the young plant and roots are reportedly edible, sweet and quite good, eaten raw as a salad, or cooked.  It has many reported medicinal properties, including for the treatment of urinary tract problems, and the leaves have been used as a restorative tea.  I have no personal experience with it as an edible or medicinal plant. Once again, never ingest any wild plant without definite identification and exact knowledge of edibility or medicinal use. 
   The stem fibers are quite tough and were used by native peoples to make cordage and fish nets.
   Altogether it is a very beautiful and traditionally useful wild plant. I have never seen it used as a garden plant, and it probably would be difficult to do so, although I have used it in a natural setting as a pioneer plant, which other plants replace in time.

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