Rosebay Willowherb

I can’t say what it is about weeds that l have always loved? Perhaps it is quite simply because they are misunderstood like some animal species. Whatever your opinion or view is on weeds, they are everywhere, and they are here to stay.

Twenty-five years ago, l used to forage for weeds to feed the enormous number of rabbits l had in my commercial breeding operation. Knowing about them made everything easier because it meant that l wouldn’t accidentally kill an animal by feeding the wrong weed.

Most weeds are harmless, not all. Of course, some are and can be deadly. The fact is that people don’t like weeds because they don’t belong where they usually appear or are out of place. Many a time, gardeners especially don’t want them because weeds tend to grow quicker and easier than many ornamental flowers.

Weeds have a way of surviving. They are ONLY considered weeds on the domestic level because, let’s be honest, when we are out walking in the countryside, how many people are bothered by the presence of weeds then?

There are advantages and disadvantages to having weeds in your gardens and yards. They do have a lot of benefits that many people tend to ignore, and this series will highlight that.

The Beauty of Weeds

Companion Plantings
Encouraging wildlife
Fertilising and enriching the soils
Providing and active Mulch/Soil protection
Attracting pollinators and good insects
Repelling pests
Food source for animals and humans
Serves as decoy crops
Great for wildlifing the garden
Soil conditioning

Designs – Earthly Comforts – Inspired by Nature – see collection here

Rosebay Willowherb

Chamaenerion angustifolium

Images my own and Pixabay

Rosebay Willowherb is a perennial flowering plant, a weed to some and an attractive country flowering bush to others. 

I find it an attractive plant, and it is pretty prolific in these parts of Kent. It is invasive but ‘pretty in pink’ as l joke with those who ask what it is. Here in the UK, it is known as Willowherb, while it is known as Fireweed in other parts of the world.

You can buy the seeds for this plant at specialist sellers to grow in your gardens or your wildlife gardens and or meadows
 as well as for a white flowering variety called “Alba”. 

Whilst wonderful to look at and have in a garden, control should be exercised with the native pink as they can become troublesome if left unmanaged, and it will spread rapidly through the season. 

However, the good news is that it can be removed from the soil quickly, whether through forking the soil or pulling up from the ground directly when the ground is wet. Another method is cutting the plant regularly through the growing period. It is not too keen and will not survive this action.

It is pretty adaptable at self-sowing due to the way the seeds drop and are carried away by the wind, and each plant has the potential of dispersing through this method up to 75,000 seeds. 

It is easily spotted and found growing on disturbed grounds and wastelands, woodlands, roadsides, pathways, grassy banks, and gardens.

It’s great for pollinators with its nectar and is loved by moths, butterflies, honeybees, and bumblebees. It is in full flower from June through to September.

Rosebay Willowherb can easily attain a height of up to five feet tall with a spread of between three to five feet and has hardy, determined and long-reaching and spread easy roots. It can also overwhelm the growing space of neighbouring plants.

I hope you enjoyed R is for Rosebay Willowherb and I’ll see you again soon.

The Autistic Composter

Species Guide Directory

Published by The Autistic Composter

Earthly Comforts is a wildlife journaling scrapbook focusing on the countryside, wildlife biodiversity and environmental conservation, flora and fauna volunteering projects, gardening, composting and vermiculture, inspiration, poetry and photography.

24 thoughts on “Rosebay Willowherb

      1. That’s great news Rory. No I didn’t see the post as the reader is messing up. I don’t see some posts from some bloggers and none from some. I think I’ll lodge a complaint with WP.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Hey Rory. According to Professor Google, Rosebay Willowherb is known as Fireweed in the states. I remember reading about Fireweed in my weed books (foraging guides), but never found any while foraging. They are edible.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Most animals know how to self-medicate. Some farmers in Australia are now allowing a few weeds to grow in certain areas for sheep to access ‘at need’. They’ve reported a very low incidence of poisoning (none since the lambs that where raised on the site became adults in the same location), and rarely need to use commercial worming concoctions.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Alaska has that fireweed and I guess also Oregon?

    Says it gets its name fireweed because it’s known for bringing life back after a fire.

    From US Fish and Wildlife Service:

    Sounds like it likes colder areas if it’s in Alaska and Oregon lol 😄😄

    It says in England it can also be known as Bombweed because it took over after WWII bombings in London ?? Is that true?

    Liked by 2 people

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