Genus Balsamorhiza
Aster Family (Asteraceae/Compositae)

Arrow-Leaf Balsamroot plant
    with many large yellow flowering heads

Arrowleaved Balsamroot
(Balsamorhiza sagittata)

This plant grows in large clumps on the dry hillsides. The leaves are smooth-edged, fuzzy and gray-green. Each leaf is shaped like a large arrow head. The species name sagittata is from the same word as the zodiac sign Sagittarius (the Archer).

Each plant usually has several large flowering heads resembling sunflowers, which bloom in April and May.

(Balsamorhiza macrophylla)

This species grows in the same area as the above, but starts blooming just a little later in the spring. Its leaves are brighter green, and are deeply cut rather than smooth-edged. The flowering heads are similar in both plants.

Balsamroot plant,
   with large deeply-cut leaves

Red Butte Canyon
Wasatch Mountain foothills
Salt Lake County, Utah


by Sandra Bray