Fireweed or Pilewort, Erechtites hieracifolia
Asteraceae or Sunflower Family

Coarse, weedy plant, 1 to 8 feet tall.  Flower heads noticeably swollen at the base, greenish, with tiny white flowers barely protruding.  Fruits are like thistle-down.  Leaves are long and irregularly toothed.  Blooms in late summer or fall.

Native, but a weedy plant of disturbed areas.  Often grows in recently burned places, hence its common name.  In Wildwood it can be found along the bikeway.

A fairly distinctive plant.  The swollen base of the flowerhead is a good identifying character.  Could be confused with wild lettuce species, but they have tiny dandelion-like flowers, and lack the swollen base.  Horseweed (Conyza canadensis) has somewhat similar flowerheads, but they ar smaller and have clearly protruding white rays; the leaves are also much less toothed. 


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