Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Arrowleaf Balsamroot

I've been doing a series of posts this Spring on the wildflowers that grow in our area. As the weeks progress, many different wildflowers come and go. The month of May is when the Balsamroot comes into bloom and thickly covers and beautifies the mountains here.

Arrowleaf Balsamroot is a sturdy, 1-2 ft. tall plant with large 4-5 in. bright yellow sunflower-like blooms. The arrow shaped, silver gray leaves are covered with fine short hairs. It grows in clumps and is a long-lived, drought tolerant native perennial that goes dormant in summer until the following spring. The above photo was taken just a short hike from our house.

This is my favorite Balsamroot photo. This clump was growing up and through another wild plant with ferny foliage, which I haven't yet identified.

Here you can see the silvery gray-green stems and arrow shaped leaves. The entire plant is edible to humans. Native Americans would peel and eat raw the tender inner portion of the young immature flower stems. They also ate the large roots and seeds. The roots are tough and woody and taste like balsam. To make them more palatable, the Indians would bake them several days in a fire pit. Medicinally, the Indians used the large coarse Balsamroot leaves as a poultice for burns. The roots were boiled and the solution was applied as a poultice for wounds, cuts, and bruises. Indians also drank a tea from the roots for tuberculosis and whooping cough.

A close up of the sunny yellow flower. It is a member of the Asteraceae or Aster family, which includes the Sunflower.


We gathered the wild-flowers. Yes, life there seem'd one pure delight.....as thro' the field we rov'd. Yes, life there seem'd one pure delight."

George Linley ~ 19th century


Cat said...

We could almost drink in that warm yellow color, couldn't we? Thank you for naming what I've searched for since I've been here! See you tomorrow...and Happy B'day to you!!! Catherine

Nancy J. Bond said...

I believe we have the same, or a very similar, wildflower here in NS. That sunny yellow just can't be beat.

ChrisJ said...

Congratulations on your one year anniversary! The yellow daisies (sorry I'm not being technical) are beautiful. Yellow is such a spring color.

Cheryl said...

I love wildflowers and I so enjoyed reading about yours. Such a happy and colourful bloom.
I loved the history to.

Rhonda said...

Fantastic display from Mother Nature! Thanks for sharing it.

joey said...

You must 'pinch' yourself waking in the morning living in the 'Garden of Eden'. Happy Anniversary! It has been delightful meeting you.

Curtis said...

What interesting plants and big flowers. I wonder if they grow in Oklahoma.

Owin & Irena said...

this is the first time i've seen or heard of this flower. it's lovely. i can imagine how spectacular the mountainside must look covered in the sunny yellow blooms.

Andrea said...

I enjoy these kind of posts and find them very interesting. Thanks a lot, Andrea

Anonymous said...

I love the way this one grows in clumps on the hillside. It does look kind of like a sunflower, doesn't it?

Happy Anniversary, and so glad I came across your blog!

Matt and Jen said...

I love the balsomroot! You are so lucky to live in such a beautiful setting. Gorgeous! -Jen :)

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

I always find such beautiful photos on your blog.

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Such a lovely wildflower Connie, no wonder you like it so much. I would love it to be in my garden as I love wildflowers and this one is very pretty.

Happy aniversary!

Kim and Victoria said...

Nice post. We love those flowers.

Randy and Jamie said...

I don't think there is anything more beautiful than a yellow flower. What a wonderful way to start my day! Thank you!

Connie said...

Wow, what beautiful pictures. Your flowers are spectacular. Thanks for sharing them.

I'm just starting out blogging these days. I've got a few pictures up at conniescapers.blogspot.com. Visit when you can.

Did I see you have a May birthday? Good month!! Me too.

Connie in Ohio

Miranda Bell said...

Hi Connie - sorry it's been so long since I visited - have had a lot of work on this year so far - not only in our own plot but also in my clients' gardens too.

The weather this year has brought things on much more quickly than normal - not sure if this is the same with you?

Beautiful pictures as usual... enough to brighten up anyone's day!

Take care Miranda