Closeup of Fireweed - Epilobium angustifolium (Onagraceae)

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Comments (12)

EcologistGreg on July 17, 2007

Hi Eve

Apart from the minor typo (should be Epilobium) this brings out another of those 'common name' issues. To Australians, fireweeds refers to the herbaceous Senecio species (Asteraceae), and in particular S. madagascariensis, an exotic weed considered toxic to stock.

However, I am jealous. This is a gorgeous shot. Our Epilobium species in the Antipodes are much smaller than this, which looks like it's rivalling Oenothera in size.

Cheers, Greg (Off into the field again today - two in a row, and then tomorrow too! Yippee!!!)

walkaboutwest on July 17, 2007

The individual flowers are only 1 to 2cm in size. However, the plant may have a raceme of 30 or more flowers. Here is a little more info.

I have also heard of Kochia scoparia referred to as "fireweed", due to it's red fall color. However, kochia is a noxious weed throughout much of the US.

walkaboutwest on July 17, 2007

By the way, I lied when I said we only had about 15 families. I sat down and started listing all the ones I knew we had represented here. We actually have over 30 families in this county, and somewhere in the neighborhood of 700 species. It gets more diverse in areas with higher precip. Not much compared to you, I know, but more than I was thinking.

EcologistGreg on July 17, 2007

No, you didn't lie, because you said most of the plants fall into about 12 families. That was part of the reason I gave our largest families a go.

Not knowing the size of your county I can't really compare, but yes, we do have an extraordinary diversity of plants in this part of the world, with somewhere in the vicinity of 1700 spp in an area of 50,000 sq. km in the Border Rivers CMA (the area I cover).

Do you find (as I have) that poorer soils tend to be more diverse? Around Sydney the sandstone country (quartz-rich, virtually nutrient-free soils) have enormous diversity.

Cheers, Greg

walkaboutwest on July 18, 2007

Greg, it depends on what you mean by poor. As you say, something like granitic soils, that are basically just a pile of coarse sands are quite diverse, as long as precip isn't too lacking. It's sort of a blank template, I guess. Since they aren't chemically limited in any way, I tend to think of them as good soils. We tend to have high pH soils (over 8 is normal), but what I think of as really poor soils in this area are the saline and sodic soils which are virtually bare.

orkology by Greg S on July 18, 2007

Poor is virtually nutrient-free, quartzose sandstone like the Hawkesbury Sandstone near Sydney. Soils are typically podzolics, with a strongly leached A horizon. The pH is usually under 5. I agree, granites aren't that poor.

Reynald.d.Chatillon on July 20, 2007

Beautiful fireweed. Just added some flower pics in my page. Any help/correction will be welcomed!

walkaboutwest on July 20, 2007

Raynald, your flower photos are lovely. However, for help with identification, I'd ask Greg S.. He's a real botanist, and a veritable encyclopedia...

You listening, Greg?? :)

orkology by Greg S on July 20, 2007

Is listening the right verb to use?!

Thanks for the plug. As to the soil info, the knowledge I have is a lot older than that of any of our 'dirt-doctors', so maybe our system has been replaced too (I did hear comments of such...)

Cheers, Greg

walkaboutwest on July 20, 2007

Well, it is supposed to be a 'conversation', right?

EcologistGreg on July 21, 2007

True! ;) Had a bit of a look at Raynald's pictures. Only a few I could give good names for though.

Cheers, Greg

Reynald.d.Chatillon on July 21, 2007

The names were very good indeed! at least as far as I can say after running google image on them! (my knowledge is THAT bad!!!).

Thanks a lot!

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on July 16, 2007
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by walkaboutwest
    • Camera: SONY DSC-H2
    • Taken on 2007/07/11 06:39:01
    • Exposure: 0.005s (1/200)
    • Focal Length: 6.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/4.000
    • ISO Speed: ISO80
    • Exposure Bias: -0.30 EV
    • No flash

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