Fireweed in North Cascades National Park in Washington state
© Danita Delimont/Getty Image
Breathe it in—it's Wildflower Week. Love blossoms
Today marks the first day of National Wildflower Week, so we're shining a light on fireweed—a ‘weed’ in name only and one that’s a welcome sight wherever it grows. This tall, willowy perennial is a pioneer species, which means it's often among the first plants to colonize an area cleared by fire or other damaging events. Native to temperate zones in the Northern Hemisphere, fireweed thrives along streams, roadsides, and forests, creating stunning blankets of pink in open meadows.But wildflowers aren't just pretty to look at. These native plants help preserve water, protect against erosion, and provide habitat for birds, butterflies, and other critters. Plus, they have a restorative quality for the mind, just as famous-wildflower-lover Lady Bird Johnson once said: 'Where flowers bloom, so does hope.'