any of various plants appearing in recently burned clearings, as the willow herb, Epilobium angustifolium.

1775–85, Americanism; fire + weed1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
fireweed (ˈfaɪəˌwiːd)
1.  any of various plants that appear as first vegetation in burnt-over areas, esp rosebay willowherb
2.  Also called: pilewort a weedy North American plant, Erechtites hieracifolia, having small white or greenish flowers: family Asteraceae (composites)
3.  an Australian rainforest tree, Stenocarpus sinuatus, having whorls of bright red flowers

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Example sentences
Local fishermen have a different name for it: fireweed.
In heavily-burned sites, succession usually begins with herbaceous plants such
  as fireweed.
Fireweed is now in flower, and its conspicuous purple-pink flowers will
  indicate areas that may warrant control measures.
Fireweed and wild parsnip grow to five or six feet often mixed with salmonberry
  and rosebushes.
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