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Rosebay Willow-herb by Heather

Every year, June through to September, clusters of this plant appear along the road side and wild places. It’s pretty, delicate, deep pink flower heads dancing and swaying in the breeze.

In my travels this year, I seem to have seen even more of this beautiful flower than ever before, so got the message that I needed to find out more about it. Seeing them always makes my smile, this picture shows the gathering I sat with. As I rested with them a feeling of serenity combined with joy welled up from my root chakra area, filling my body with ease.

When I got back home this is some of the information available about this beautiful plant which is classified as a ‘weed’!

Common names Rosebay Willow-herb, fireweed, Bombweed

Botanical name Chamaenerion angustifolium

Synonyms Chamerion angustifolium, Epilobium angustifolium

It is a native perennial plant in the northern hemisphere, which spreads by seed and rhizomes (roots/stems). When it’s long seed capsules are ripe, they split open to reveal numerous fluffy seeds, which are easily carried on the wind. The roots are long, branched and spreading, quickly producing new leafy shoots in large patches nearby.

Rosebay is known as Fireweed in North America, as it often the first plant to appear after forest fires or other incidents which leave the earth scorched. This is also what gave rise to it being called Bombweed in the UK. Londoners have memories of this flower in the bomb sites of the second world war, its vibrant flowers became a symbol of London's recovery.

It has the ability to survive deep in the earth; the seeds can be dried and kept for years, when planted, germination takes 2 to 4 days. On sand dunes in Holland, one source stated, a regular patch of Rosebay had grown for the last 35 years.

The stems of this herb have been used to make cords, as well as apparently clothing.

When young the shoots are tender and can be cooked, to eaten like asparagus.

The leaves are still used in some parts of Russia as a tea, called Ivan Chai.

In Alaska, sweets, syrups, jellies, and even ice cream are made from Rosebay, there is also a mono-floral honey from its nectar that has a distinctive, spiced flavour.

Some sources said that it could be fermented into an ale.

Medically this plant’s stems and leaves have been used by herbalists for its tonic and astringent properties; in decoction and infusion. It has been recommended for its antispasmodic properties in the treatment of whooping-cough, hiccough and asthma. In an ointment, it has been used topically as a remedy for infantile skull cap.

Magically I feel this herb is linked to fire and air.

Mercury and Jupiter are the planets that would seem to be associated with it.

Rosebay may be useful in spells, poppets or mojo bags for transformation, strength, vitality, courage, grounding and communication issues.

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