Fire Weed (Epilobium angustifolium) as a Food

A number of wild plants show good potential as food sources because they are so abundant and grow rapidly and in a wide range of locations. Fire Weed (Epilobium angustifolium) shows potential as a food source for this reason. Most often found in hedgerows and in deciduous forests in the northern hemisphere, fire weed is edible in its entirety including roots, stems, leaves and flowers. The dried plant can be used to make tea and the roots are a rich source of carbohydrate, stored as starch by the plant. In some parts of  Esdtern Europe, fire weed is used as a food source with reports of its consumption in Latvia, North Karelia, Ukraine, Estonia and Finland. The tea can be made from the flower of the plant, and these are generally collected and dried. The flower may provide antioxidants and other nutrients, but are unlikely to provide any energy. Therefore although fire weed has the potential to be used as an edible plant, its consumption appears to be limited to parts of Eastern Europe by small numbers of individuals. 

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Kalle, R., Belichenko, O., Kuznetsova, N., Kolosova, V., Prakofjewa, J., Stryamets, N., Mattalia, G., Sarka, P., Simanova, A., Pruse, B., Mezaka, I. and Sõukand, R. 2020. Gaining momentum: Popularization of Epilobium angustifolium as food and recreational tea on the Eastern edge of Europe. Appetite. 150: 104638

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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