South Dakota Native Plant Research
Asteraceae: Balsamorhiza sagittata

Asteraceae: Balsamorhiza sagittata


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Family Name


Common Name

Arrowleaf balsamroot

Native American Name

Lakota: hutkáŋ tȟáŋka


Balsamorhiza sagittata is a perennial herb growing from a deep taproot with stems arising from a branching crown and reaching 80 cm in height. The foliage is covered with silvery hairs, often making the plant appear and feel velvety. The silvery-gray simple basal leaves are petiolate, arrowhead shaped, with blades 20-40 cm long and the margins are entire. The cauline leaves are linear to narrowly oval in shape, smaller and coated in fine to rough hairs, especially on the undersides. The inflorescence consists of one or more heads, usually solitary on each stem. Each head is surrounded by an involucre of 2-4 series of bracts and the receptacle is broadly convex. There are 13-25 yellow ray flowers with ligules 2-4 cm long surrounding a center with many yellow disk flowers. The fruit is a roughly four-sided achene, 7-8 mm long lacking a pappus. Arrowhead balsamroot blooms from May to July on open hillsides and in valleys of western South Dakota.

Additional Notes

Arrowleaf Balsamroot produces a showy bloom in late spring and early summer. The silvery leaves are attractive, and the plants make a nice addition to a native plant garden. The flowers are visited by a wide range of bumblebee species.

Horticulture Notes

Seed Collection: Seeds mature in June through early August. The seedheads are short-lived and disappear shortly after the seeds are ready.

Germination: The seeds are dormant and need a 60-90-day cold treatment to germinate. Sow in fall for spring germination.

Vegetative propagation: Plants do not transplant well and should be started from seed.

Light: Full sun.

Soil: Moist, well drained sandy or gravelly soils

Asteraceae: Balsamorhiza sagittata