Gordon Beningfield (British, 1936 - 1998) "Fireweed" Signed lower right. Original Watercolor painting on Illustration Board.
Provenance: Collection of James A. Helzer (1946-2008), Founder of Unicover Corporation.
This artwork originally appeared on the Fleetwood First Day of Issue Maximum Card for the U.S. 29c Fireweed stamp issued July 24, 1992.
Found in moist, rich soils of open woods and along stream banks, fireweed also invades forest clearings and burned areas, often covering thousands of acres after a fire. A tall, regal perennial, fireweed can reach heights of more than six feet. Fireweed blooms from July to September. Arranged in a long spike, the fuchsia flowers open successively from the bottom to the top of the stalk. The lower flowers develop into fruit while the upper flowers are still in bloom. Each seed is attached to silky hairs; when the capsule splits open, the seeds are dispersed like downy parachutes by the wind. The genus name comes from the Greek word epi -- upon -- and Lobos -- pod -- which refers to the arrangement of the flower parts. Fireweed makes a good range forage plant for livestock, and also provides food for wildlife such as deer, elk and grizzlies. Native Americans boiled the young shoots as potherbs and scooped the pith out of older stalks for a sweet-tasting treat.
Image Size: 7 x 6.25 in.
Overall Size: 11.5 x 11.5 in.
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