Onagraceae/Evening Primrose family
Fireweed grows in meadows, woods and along Alaska's Highways. It is a tall plant (2.5-5') with thin, long leaves that grow off a tall central stalk. The top of the flowering stem is covered in quarter-sized, 4 petaled pink flowers that bloom from the bottom upward. In the fall the leaves turn bright orange, red and purple. Its name comes from its ability to mass produce on recently burned over areas (due to its deep roots that escape fire). Fireweed requires lots of sunlight to grow so once larger tree species create shade the plant dies. However, its seeds stay in the soil and are viable for years so the next time a fire burns over the area and sunlight is restored to the forest floor, fireweed appears once again.