Arrowleaf Balsamroot: Balsamorhiza sagittata

In early spring and up until early summer, both hillsides and open fields, meadows and prairies bask in the warm glow of a beautiful spring wildflower Arrowleaf Balsamroot.

According to the USDA website “The balsam root has a large, deep, thick taproot having a diameter the width of a hand and a branching root going several feet deep. The thicker portions are covered with bark. Above is a plant we noticed that obviously has seen many years and still is going strong.

The Balsamroot first appeared in early May when the snow melted and started blooming about a month ago and are still going strong with new growth appearing especially in areas that were the last to thaw this year and in higher elevations.

The flowers provide ample pollen and provide for pollinators early in the season.

Beautiful in both morning and evening light every part of the plant provided Native Americans with food. The roots were baked or roasted, the flowers and seeds eaten and the root has been used as a coffee substitute.

A beautiful spring wildflower indeed giving a nice golden glow to the fields as spring marches on.

13 thoughts on “Arrowleaf Balsamroot: Balsamorhiza sagittata

    1. Hi Jet and thanks we do enjoy having this plant around and it was fun to learn the many uses. The next step might be to give a few a try but they do seem to enjoy where they are at right now and the grocery store does have plenty other choices.

    1. Hi Jim, yes very firmly rooted we once tried to transplant a very small on and were flabbergasted that the tap root on a little one was more than a foot deep. We have seen it for sale in that native plant section of our local nursery in a container looking like a large foot long plastic test tube with a single leaf stickup out the top.

    1. Hi adam it is a wonderful flower to have around. I have not attempted to try any of the traditional food uses but might be fun if I did not feel guilty for digging up such a fine plant to look at. Probably would give me more pleasure to see than to eat it but in a pinch…it is there.

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