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Chamerion latifolium (formerly Epilobium latifolium) is a species of flowering plant in the evening primrose family known by the English common names Dwarf Fireweed and River Beauty Willowherb. It has a circumboreal distribution, appearing throughout the northern regions of the Northern Hemisphere, including subarctic and Arctic areas such as snowmelt-flooded gravel bars and talus, in a wide range of elevations. This is a perennial herb growing in clumps of leaves variable in size, shape, and texture above a woody caudex. The leaves are 1 to 10 centimeters long, lance-shaped to oval, pointed or rounded at the tips, and hairy to hairless and waxy. The inflorescence is a rough-haired raceme of nodding flowers with bright to deep pink, and occasionally white, petals up to 3 centimeters long. Behind the opened petals are pointed sepals. The fruit is an elongated capsule which may exceed 10 centimeters in length. This arctic plant provides valuable nutrition for the Inuit, who eat the leaves raw, boiled with fat, or steeped in water for tea, the flowers and fruits raw, and as a salad with meals of seal and walrus blubber. Every part of this plant is edible, tasting much like spinach, and is also known in the Canadian tundra as River Beauty. It is the national flower of Greenland, where it is known by the Greenlandic name niviarsiaq, which means "little girl".
Spotted on Jun 15, 2009
Submitted on Jun 10, 2013