Scientific Name: Erechtites hieracifolia

Common Name: American burnweed

Other Common Names: fire weed, pilewort

Synonyms: Erechtites hieracifolia, Erechtites hieraciifolius

Habit: This weed is an erect summer annual that ranges in height from 1 to 9 feet tall.

Leaves: Alternate, elliptic to lanceolate in outline, approximately 2 to 8 inches long, 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches wide. Leaves have a sharp-pointed apex (acute) and margins that are irregularly toothed. Most leaves will not be lobed but it is possible.

Identifying Characteristics: An erect summer annual with alternate, lanceolate leaves that have toothed margins. Erect plants with alternate, lanceolate leaves that have toothed margins. When mature, the feathery white seedheads are also key features of these plants.

Flower Seed Head: Flowers occur in panicles at the ends of stems. Individual flower heads are 3 to 10 mm wide, and cream to pinkish in color.

Seed Fruit: A brown nutlet that contains many white pappus that disperse the seed.

Where Found: Fireweed is primarily a weed of pastures, abandoned fields, and some agronomic crops.

  • Life cycle: summer annual

  • Milky sap: Not Present

  • Plant type: Herb

  • Thorns: Not Present

  • Plant family: Asteraceae

  • Leaf arrangement: alternate

  • Leaf shape: lance; oval

  • Ochrea: Not Present

  • Leaf margin: serrated; lobed

  • Stem hairs: no hairs; has hairs

  • Flower color: white; pink

  • Growth habit: upright and nonwoody

  • Stem: round or oval

  • Leaf structure: simple

  • Leaf hairs: has hairs; no hairs

  • Flower diameter: pencil; dime

  • Flower symmetry: disymetry; bilateral symetry; not symmetrical; radial symetery

  • Root structure: taproot; fibrous

  • Leaf stalk: none; shorter than leaf