Arrow-Leaved Balsamroot (súxwem)

Arrow-Leaved Balsamroot is a commonly noted plant in the dry south interior, with bright yellow flowers that bloom in early spring and silvery-green arrow shaped leaves. It was a very important food source for Indigenous peoples, with almost all parts of the plant being edible.

Categories: ,

Description
Latin Name Balsamorhiza sagittata
Type Herb
Description Arrow-Leaved Balsamroot is a commonly noted plant in the dry south interior, with bright yellow flowers that bloom in early spring and silvery-green arrow shaped leaves. It was a very important food source for Indigenous peoples, with almost all parts of the plant being edible.
Height and Spread 0.2 – 0.8 m tall. Up to 1 m spread.
Bloom Colour Bright yellow with an orangeish red centre.
Bloom Months March to May (depending on elevation)
Foliage Colour Silvery-green – more green above and more silver below.
Seed Months The seeds mature in mid-summer
Light and Water Likes open sunny slopes. Grows in dry areas, flowering in early spring when there is more water.
Ethnobotany Information Arrow-Leaved Balsamroot was one of the most important food sources for many Indigenous peoples of British Columbia. All parts of the plant are edible, with the young leaves being eaten raw or steamed, the taproots roasted or steamed, and the seeds being used similar to sunflower seeds or pounded into a flower.
Wildlife Uses Arrow-Leaved Balsamroot is commonly grazed by many wildlife species, including elk, deer, and sheep. As all parts of the plants are edible and widespread, Balsamroot is a staple for many species of wildlife.
Garden Uses While Arrow-Leaved Balsamroot is widespread and very beautiful, it can be difficult to propagate and does not transplant well, making it a difficult plant to use to garden settings. If successful, it is both very beautiful and edible.
Facts It is speculated that grazing by domestic sheep in some areas have led to a decline in the abundance of Balsamroot.
Propagation Techniques Arrow-Leaved Balsamroot do not transplant well so are best seeded directly.