American burnweed

American burnweed (Erechtites hieracifolia). Photo: Ria Malloy

Updated: February 27, 2023

Life cycle

American burnweed (Erechtites hieracifolia) is a native summer annual plant. It is also called fireweed or pilewort.

Growth habit

Height may range from 1 1/2 - 10 feet, alternate leaves with toothed margins, feathery white seedheads are a key identifying feature


Reproduces by seed that is wind dispersed

Conditions that favor growth

Pastures, open fields and can show up in home landscapes


Young plant

American burnweed

Photo: James H. Miller & Ted Bodner, Southern Weed Science Society,

Whole plant

American burnweed in its natural habitat

Photo: Robert Vidéki, Doronicum Kft.,


American burnweed leaves and stem

Photo: Joseph M. DiTomaso, University of California - Davis,


American burnweed flowers

Photo: Robert Vidéki, Doronicum Kft.,


Identify plant, monitor early, manual removal before seeds form. Can be dug out or manually pulled. 


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