Balsamroot


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British Columbia Outdoor Wilderness Guide

Balsamroot

Balsamroot
(Balsamorhiza sagittata)
a.k.a. arrow-leaved balsamroot, spring flowers

Balsamroot has a 'balsam' smell to its taproots. This perennial grows to between 20-80 cm. Balsamroom has soft, hairy stems and leaves.

LEAVES:
- Balsamroot leaves are large (up to 30 cm.)
- covered with soft hairs
- silvery, olive green or greyish green
- on long stalks
- grow from the base
FLOWERS:
- Balsamroot flowers have yellow rays with a darker yellow disk
- hairy at the base
- flower stems can be 10-30 in. tall
- up to 4 in. across
- each flower on a seperate stem
FRUIT:
- single seeds; slight ribbing
HABITAT:
- Balsamroot is found at low to mid elevations
- Balsamroot enjoys hot, dry climates; grasslands, forests and rocky slopes throughout BC
FASCINATING FACTS:
- all of the plant can be eaten: leaves - raw or steamed (also used for tobacco): taproots - dried, roasted or steamed: seeds - pounded for use as a flour or eaten raw
- Balsamroot is a popular food for wildlife and domestic animals
- once the flowers are gone and the leaves faded, it is hard to find evidence of the plant

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Balsamroot