Thursday, February 23, 2012

Plants of the Opasquia Park

Fireweed at Central Lake
The Opasquia Park is abundant with fireweed in 

purple and white flowers.

Fireweed derives from the species' abundance as 

a coloniser on burnt sites after forest fires. The 

young shoots were often collected in the spring by 

Native American people and mixed with other 

greens. They are best when young and tender; as 

the plant matures the leaves become tough and 

somewhat bitter. 

The southeast Native Americans use the 

stems in this stage. They are peeled and eaten raw. When properly 

prepared soon after picking they are a good source of vitamin C and pro-vitamin A. The Dena'ina add 

fireweed to their dogs' food. Fireweed is also a medicine of the Upper Inlet Dena'ina, who treat pus-filled 

boils or cuts by placing a piece of the raw stem on the afflicted area. This is said to draw the pus out of the 

cut or boil and prevents a cut with pus in it from healing over too quickly.

A flowering fireweed plant

The root can be roasted after scraping off the outside, but often tastes bitter. To mitigate this, the root is 

collected before the plant flowers and the brown thread in the middle removed.

In Alaska, candies, syrups, jellies, and even ice cream are made from fireweed. Monofloral honey made 

primarily from fireweed nectar has a distinctive, spiced flavor.


1 comment:

  1. This is very interesting,I love the great north and have been going to Canada for over 30 years.
    This is my first trip with Big Hook and I think it's going to be great.