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small kochia branch Fireweed (Kochia scoparia) Info

This Mercury plant loves to travel--it snaps off at the root in a brisk wind and becomes a tumbleweed. It is also associated with Fire in its habit of growing in burned over land and love of the Sun. This makes this magick herb good for healing work, especially after an experience which has burned away old aspects of the personality, old habits, or an old way of life, or after personal transformation (Fire being the element most often associated with transformation). Its abundant seeds are used in traditional Chinese medicine for impotence, in Navaho medicine its branches are used to paint patients during healing ceremonies. These seeds are sold as herbs; they will not germinate.

The foliage of this Mercury plant turns crimson late in the season, which is one reason why it is called Fire Weed.  It also enjoys growing in burned over land and loves the Sun, which increases its fall color.  Although nitrates in this plant grow to poisonous levels if it gets too much nitrogen fertilizer, the young leaves and shoots have been eaten in China in times of famine (they probably boiled them and threw away the water at least once). Ethanol extracts of the dried fruits have been used as an anti-inflammatory.  In the Southwest, winds help this plant break free of its dried stem so that it can tumble around and distribute its seeds, which sparrows love to eat.  This Eurasian native was introduced to the US in 1900 and like many of us humans, has become naturalized.  It grows well on poor ground, will help anchor topsoil, and extracts radioactive poisons from the soil, cleaning it. It can become a pest where winters are warm but is often used for decorative hedges anyhow.  In Navaho medicine its branches are used to paint patients during healing ceremonies, and the leaves can produce hallucination, especially in conjunction with other plants, which shows a Pluto influence (secret or hidden abilities that are brought out in certain situations). Top

Kochia scoparia childsii How to grow Fire Weed: Soak seed for 24 hours and barely cover--they need light to germinate. Soil temps of 65-75F/18-24C will speed germination.  Seed germinates in 5-10 days.  Or sow in a paper towel that has been wet and wrung out. Fold towel into eighths and put in an open baggie. Mine germinated in 24 hours at room temperature this day, so check them daily. Space out transplants 1ft/.3m apart for a hedge that gets 5ft/1.5 m high.  This plant reseeds heavily.   General growing info.   Top


2004, 2014 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without permission

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Uses in Witchcraft and Magic:

Fire Magic
Mercury/Fire Herb