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
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
(secret or hidden abilities that are brought out
in certain situations).
© 2004, 2014 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without permission