Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!


Plant Database

Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

Enter a Plant Name:
Or you can choose a plant family:
Balsamorhiza sagittata (Arrowleaf balsamroot)
Glase, Terry

Balsamorhiza sagittata

Balsamorhiza sagittata (Pursh) Nutt.

Arrowleaf Balsamroot, Arrow-leaf Balsamroot

Asteraceae (Aster Family)


USDA Symbol: BASA3

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

This perennialís large, silvery "arrowhead" to heart-shaped leaves, 6 in. wide and 12 in. long, form impressive tufts. A woody taproot gives rise to several 8-24 in. stems, each usually bearing a solitary, 2 1/2-4 in. wide, yellow, sunflower-like flower. An almost leafless stalk with 1 large bright yellow flower head at tip grows from a basal cluster of large silvery-gray leaves covered with felt-like hairs.

Indians prepared medicine from the roots. The very similar Deltoid Balsam Root (B. deltoidea), found in open places in California, western Oregon, and Washington, is only sparsely hairy, is much greener, and drops its rays soon after flowering. Several species of Balsamorhiza have pinnately divided leaves.


From the Image Gallery

62 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Size Notes: Up to about 2 feet tall.
Leaf: Green
Fruit: Fruit is a cypsela (pl. cypselae). Though technically incorrect, the fruit is often referred to as an achene.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul
Bloom Notes: Flower heads are usually borne singly, sometimes 2 to 3+.


USA: AZ , CA , CO , ID , MT , ND , NV , OR , SD , UT , WA , WY
Canada: AB , BC
Native Distribution: S. B.C. to MT, s., e. of the Cascades, to CA & NM; also Black Hills
Native Habitat: Sandy plains & forest openings; 4000-8000 ft.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Deep, sandy or gravelly soils.


Use Food: Native Americans used to eat the starchy roots, seeds, and tender young shoots.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees
Special Value to Bumble Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.


Description: The plant takes poorly to transplanting, thus seeds should be used for propagation.
Seed Treatment: Seeds require prolonged cool-moist stratification and then incubation at cold temperatures for germination.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

Additional resources

USDA: Find Balsamorhiza sagittata in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Balsamorhiza sagittata in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Balsamorhiza sagittata


Record Modified: 2022-12-08
Research By: TWC Staff

Go back