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Balsamorhiza sagittata (Pursh) Nutt.

Arrowleaf balsamroot

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassAsteridaeA large class that encompasses asters
OrderAsteralesFlowering plants with a central disk flower and surrounding petals, like daisies
FamilyAsteraceaeThe aster family, which also includes daisies and sunflowers; from the Greek ἀστήρ, “star,” for the star-shaped flowers
GenusBalsamorhizaFrom the Greek balsamos, “balsam,” and rhiza, “root,” alluding to the plants having roots with a balsamic or resinous smell or exudation

About plant names...

Arrowleaf balsamroot is named for its wide, sharply pointed leaves and its pine-scented, sticky sap. These plants are members of the sunflower family.

Identification: Plants grow up to 24" (60 cm) in height. Leaves have hairs, sometimes rough, especially underneath. The bright, sunny flowers, like miniature sunflowers, are 1½" (3.8 cm) to 3" (7.6 cm) across. The sticky sap smells strongly of pine, . They appear at altitudes between 4300' (1.3 km) and 1.6 mi (2.5 km).

Balsamorhiza sagittata (arrowleaf balsamroot)

Leaves near the base of the plant resemble arrowheads with wavy edges, though smaller leaves are more rounded.

Edibility: Despite its bitter sap, the entire arrowleaf balsamroot is edible. The large taproots are especially palatable.[1]

Online References:

The Oregon Flora Image Project

Wildflowers, Ferns & Trees of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah


The USDA Forest Service's Fire Effects Information Database

The Montana Native Plant Society (PDF)

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants

SEINet—the Southwest Environmental Information Network


1From Wikipedia


Balsamorhiza sagittata description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.

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Balsamorhiza sagittata (arrowleaf balsamroot)

5/28/2009 · Mesa Verde, Cortez, Colorado
≈ 4½ × 3' (1.4 × 0.9 m) ID is uncertain


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