My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wildflower Wednesday

Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light.
~Theodore Roethk

Arrowleaf Balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata)

With huge leaves clearly shaped like arrows (sagittata means "arrow-leaved"), and roots containing sap that smells strongly like balsam pine, you can see how this plant got its name. Closely related to the sunflower, the Balsamroot's flowers can reach heights of almost two and a half feet while the leaves are often as big as a foot long and 6 inches wide. They blanket the hillsides with their bright yellow-gold color, and since they bloom here along with the lupine (and many other wildflowers), it makes for very colorful late spring/early summer meadows.

Lupine and Arrowleaf buddies
(and an accompanying raindrop smear on my lens!) :-)
If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly,
our whole life would change.
~The Buddha

The flowers, about 3-4" across, are apparently quite tasty, since Mocha loves to eat them! He's not alone, as the leaves and blossoms are the preferred springtime food of Bighorn Sheep. Elk and deer enjoy the tender young shoots, and Native Americans ate the roots, sprouts and seeds and used the leaves, sap and roots to treat various wounds and ailments (all parts of the Arrowleaf Balsamroot are edible, and its sap has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties). Fortunately, this plant can easily withstand heavy grazing!

As well as heavy romping, as Tess joyfully demonstrates. :-)


  1. Is it already Wildflower Wednesday again? Wow, that snuck up on me...the days have been flying by lately.

    Sounds like a handy plant to have around...and beautiful too! I'm sure the rolling fields of golden balsamroot are really a pleasure to take in. Tess certainly looks like she's enjoying herself immensely.

  2. Me again,

    I was looking at your tags and saw "furkids" first I thought is was a type of flower...but now I'm thinking you mean in Tess.

  3. Your blog is so very interesting, thanks for all the handy information. Thanks for your kind words regarding my "Nooch" post, it really is good stuff, and I think you'll like my version of it. Please let me know, once you try it.
    Best wishes, Jennifer

  4. Rose ~ I know, I know! I can't believe we've already passed the mid-point of June! Who's leaning on Time's fast forward button?! (Whoever it is, stop it!)

    The girls love to romp through the flora, but Tess is usually the one who creates the most photo ops. I was in town all day today, so I took the dogs for a quick run in our pasture this evening and took a along my new camera. I got another photo of her in the wildflowers that I liked it so much I added it to this post! :-) (We got home just as it started to storm, so I'm glad I squeezed in that quick hike when I could!)

    Your second thought about "furkids" is correct. :-) I use that tag when I post photos of our furry little family members, and the tag "critters" when I post pics of our wildlife friends.

    Jennifer - Thank you for the compliment, your blog is lovely and so creative ~ and your nooch sauce sounds great. I'm crunched for time right now, but do intend to try your sauce soon and I'll definitely let you know how we like it. (I can't imagine not loving it! I mean, it's got nooch in it! What's not to love?) :-)

  5. Tess, Tess, Tess....romping in the flowers. Love it. I love seeing happy dogs. My Tula is fearful in many settings, but when she's romping a la Tess I see her happy glow.
    I love that pic of the arrowroot (?)...memory lapse....flower from above. Vibrant yellow, and apparently good to munch.
    I'm glad you have a new camera to play with and enjoy. I'm vowing to get out the book that came with mine (3 years ago) and start making use of all the features. The other day I figured out I can take panoramic size photos....who knew?

  6. In honor of the first day of summer, I felt like enjoying one of your wildflower posts. My first impression of the Arrowleaf Balsamroot was of a bouquet. I don't know if it was just the one you happened to photograph or they are all like that but I loved how it grew, vase ready (albeit a very big vase) in the field!

    Not only are your photos stunning but I'm impressed with the perfect specimens you found to photograph. They are beautiful!

  7. Sue ~ Tula and Tess (sounds like a jazz duet, lol) have that in common. Tess had a traumatic life before joining our family and can often be timid and easily frightened. But when romping, she's the picture of cheerful confidence! She throws her front feet way up into the air when she's happily loping, so she looks like a rocking horse. When I want to her do that, I say, "Come on Tessa, show us your Happy Feet!" :-)

    I used to confuse the Arrowleaf Balsamroot name all the time, often calling it the Arrowroot Balsamleaf (using arrowroot powder in my cooking only added to my confusion!) until it dawned on me that the leaves are shaped like arrows, and learning later that the roots taste and smell like balsam, which finally helped me keep their name straight! :-) I agree about their vibrant, vivid color - so bright they almost don't look real.

    Panoramic photos, bet that was a fun discovery! My new one can do that, but other than taking one to see how it worked, I haven't used it. Imagine how awesome your photos will look when you've learned all the things your camera is capable of!

    Jo ~ I love that you were inspired to visit one of my wildflower posts as a way to welcome Summer. :-) Like giant bouquets is exactly how all the Arrowleaf Balsamroot plants grow! And it would take a huge vase indeed. I saw a leaf on one today that had to be at least 15" long.

    Thank you for your compliment on my photos! Picking an excellent specimen was easy, there were so many perfect ones to choose from! All our moisture has made it an excellent year for wildflowers. I just wish my photos were "scratch-n-sniff," so you could inhale the perfumed air! My hikes are positively heady with aromatherapy! :-)


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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