|Positive ||hillfarm ||On May 14, 2007, hillfarm from Quesnel, BC (Zone 4a) wrote:
I have not grown this in my garden, but give it a positive rating because it is one of the most eagerly awaited and spectacular wildflowers in our area.
Right now (early May) the dry sagebrush and fir forest hillsides of the British Columbia southern interior are covered by this beautiful flower in full bloom.
Oldtimers refer to it as simply "sunflower", while those of us with pretensions to a little more botanical knowledge call it Balsam-root, or Balsam-sunflower, or (taking a deep breath first) Arrow-leaf Balsam-root.
Foliage is a silvery green, covered by a dense coating of fine white hairs. Blooms are large, 3 to 4 inches across typically, and of a bright golden-yellow shade.
While not individually fragrant, a grouping of these plants in full bloom in the hot spring sun give up a definite spicy aroma.
There always seem to be lots of crab spiders lurking in the blossoms, with much general insect activity going on in each clump. Deer seem to avoid browsing on these, (perhaps because of the wooly texture?), but cattle on spring range will crop them, very obvious where fencelines delineate the "cow-free" zones.
Historically an important First Nations food plant. There are reports of the young shoots being eaten, as well as the thick roots and the oily seeds.