Burn Baby Burn

RoseBay Willow-Herb
RoseBay Willow-Herb

Flower finds fires fortunate. Self-seeds in seconds across soured cityscapes. Bombed buildings become blooming beautiful. Plug in the samovar and let’s have a nice cup of tea.

This is RoseBay WillowHerb and it’s there up at the front whenever there’s colonisation or pioneering needed. In America it is called Fireweed because it is always the first thing to appear after a fire. It just loves wide open spaces, you see. Once other plants get the idea and the neighbourhood becomes a little crowded, Fireweed’s seeds just lie around and don’t bother to germinate – just waiting for the next forest or prairie fire to clear the air.

After World War II it became Bombweed in Britain, as its habit of appearing out of nowhere, filled bombed out buildings and bomb craters. Any land left derelict is fair game and its seeds can even find their way into the middle of our concrete jungles – if we leave them an unused building site for a year or two.

In Russia they used to make a tea from its leaves – maybe they still do, they even used to export it to Europe. Those were the days when most of our tea came on a camel caravan across Siberia from China, so I suppose their locally grown RoseBay Willow-Herb worked out a bit cheaper.

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