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Firebell - Flora
Written By: Elizabeth Barrette (Writer), Valerie Joanne Higgins (Artwork)
A common marsh plant that also appears in some ditches, canals, and along the banks of slow-moving rivers.
 
 

Common Name(s): Firebell; nicknames Feverpod, Floodweed, Water Root.

Description: Firebell is a tall plant that grows 3-4 feet high. Its leaves are long flat blades similar to cattail. (Indeed, when not in bloom, firebell and cattail are very difficult to tell apart.) The leaves sprout in small bunches from plump tuberous roots. Fine rootlets extend from the tubers to help anchor the plant and draw nutrients from the soil.

The distinctive flowers give firebell its most common name. A tall stem grows alongside each leaf, curling away about 3/4 of the way up the leaf; a green cap opens into a tubular scarlet flower. Bright yellow stamens hang down from the bottom of the flower, extending well beyond the lip of the bell.

The flower later gives way to a fat, wrinkled pod. This contains several large seeds similar to peas. These are buoyant and too tough to eat.

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